How do you fix your credit after filing bankruptcy?
Clients often ask me how they can fix their credit after filing bankruptcy.
Some clients had great credit scores before life-events triggered filing bankruptcy. Other clients’ scores were never great, and life after bankruptcy is the time to make the change.
We know that virtually all lenders use your FICO score to determine whether you’re credit-worthy. There are three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Each bureau calculates it’s own FICO score (though the bureaus use various acronyms for their version of FICO).
Though you can obtain your credit report for free once per year from each bureau by visiting http://AnnualCreditReport.com, it’s up to you to buy your FICO score from the bureaus directly or from FICO. Credit reports are different than your credit score. I worry a lot about your credit reports because I want them to be accurate (because they will be used against you!). I personally worry less about your credit score, because it is a reflection of what’s in your credit report. The number improves when you’re in a better place debt-wise.
Eight Credit Repair Tips After Bankruptcy
Here’s a link to an August 2010 MarketWatch Article you’ll like: Eight Credit-Repair Tips After Bankruptcy. This article provides a general overview of how to improve your FICO score after filing bankruptcy.
Here’s what it doesn’t say: You’ll be rebuilding your score from a 300 point hit that you’ll take when you file. But, you’ll be rebuilding without the repeat assaults your credit score takes each month you’re late on a payment, miss a payment, or otherwise default. That means you get to be 18 years old again credit-wise, and you get to rebuild your credit history the way you want to with the knowledge of what not to do.
Your post bankruptcy Future–The Quest for the Perfect Credit Score
Here’s a link to an article in the September 2010 issue Money magazine about some Americans who’ve made it their goal to have stratospheric credit scores–The Quest for the Perfect Score. Don’t hate these folks because their credit scores are in the top percentile! These Americans are not Bill Gates or Warren Buffet money-wise. They are just exceedingly careful with credit.
This is a great article that overviews the components of the score, how to address short term strategies for improving your score, and some long-range tricks for ratcheting a good score even higher.
Though I ordinarily view credit scores with the same disdain I view getting on the bathroom scale, I was inspired by this article to check my own FICO score. Guess what? I found a an error on my credit report that was adversely affecting my number. Some creditor I’ve never heard of was reporting a $78 collection account to the bureau. As a result the bureau was dinging my FICO score. I disputed the error, and the bureau fixed it. Yes, even a bankruptcy attorney can find errors.
[You may ask why I disdain FICO scores when I preach the importance of vigilantly monitoring your credit report. I’ll elaborate on my philosophy of FICO scores when we meet.]
Should you file bankruptcy? Does it make sense for your family? Will filing bankruptcy solve your financial problems?
Call me, Attorney Shannon McDuffie, at (404) 418-8879 to set up your consultation and we’ll find out.