Important Considerations in Personal Bankruptcy Decisions
As the personal financial situations of individuals all across America decline with the economic conditions, many people are considering bankruptcy as a legitimate option to ending a financial nightmare. Filing for personal bankruptcy is a huge decision. A very complex process, it has long-term effects that some people don’t fully understand. Unfortunately, most people who file for bankruptcy aren’t aware of the other available options.
The most well-known long-term effect of personal bankruptcy is the damage to your credit report. Bankruptcies will show on credit reports for a minimum of seven, and sometimes up to ten years. During this time, it will be difficult, although not impossible, to obtain credit. Any loans that you do obtain will probably carry higher interest rates as a result of the increased risk of lending to someone with a past bankruptcy. Even after the bankruptcy is removed from the credit report, it can still take awhile to rebuild a good credit report, since not obtaining credit for the past seven to ten years, while the bankruptcy prevented doing so, will also hurt your credit report.
Personal bankruptcy isn’t as painful as some people anticipate, since you are allowed to retain your personal possessions in most cases, but it also isn’t as easy as some people mistakenly assume. Student loans and tax debts are not discharged with bankruptcy, and filing for bankruptcy also costs money. Attorneys and courts charge fees, and a person who files bankruptcy will also be required to pay these costs.
Fortunately, there are some alternatives available to filing for personal bankruptcy. Some people find relief, and more manageable payment terms, simply by calling their creditors and negotiating the terms. Others find that they are able to repay their existing debts by learning better personal financial management skills. If these two things aren’t enough, a restructuring of the debt, which happens out of court, can also help by giving the debtor new terms and a longer time frame to repay the debts. Another option is to pursue debt consolidation, in which high-interest loans are replaced with one, low-rate loan.
One of the things that can happen as you become stressed about your financial situation is to focus on bankruptcy as the ultimate solution. But you should be encouraged and strongly recommended to take a deep breath and think clearly. Bankruptcy may not be your only option nor your best option. In fact, common wisdom dictates that it should be your option of last resort, utilized only after you have thoroughly investigated all possible alternatives.
With all the options available, it’s difficult to know which path you should pursue. An evaluation, which can be obtained through many means, can help. One particularly helpful and easy way to obtain an evaluation of your personal situation is to use a website. The evaluation can help answer difficult questions regarding bankruptcy.