Submitted by Jen Jones on Wed, 04/15/2009 - 3:08pm
It wasn't easy to come to the realization that filing bankruptcy was the right solution for you. You agonized over the decision, struggled with the shame and embarrassment of not being able to pay all of your monthly bills, worried about eviction, foreclosure, repossession, lawsuits, and exhausted by all of the stress. But after learning the facts about bankruptcy, you made the important decision to hire a lawyer and move forward with your life by seeking the protections of bankruptcy law.
Bankruptcy is designed to give people a new start in life. Filing bankruptcy can be the beginning of a true financial and emotional health success story. Once you've made it through the process, a huge weight will seem to be lifted from your shoulders. You can breathe a deep sigh of relief. Life can feel good again. Now you have the opportunity to develop new skills and habits that will make you stronger financially and emotionally. You can learn new ways of managing your money to create a stable and fulfilling life.
The period following bankruptcy is a critical time in which you can take control, and stay in control of your life. But, without proper attention and planning, you could also find yourself slipping back into the familiar patterns that may have gotten you into financial trouble in the first place. It is crucial to your financial recovery that you change the way you think about money. Here are a few steps that will help:
Find at least one person that you can talk to about your finances. It could be your spouse, a friend, or parent. They don't need to be experts. Just have someone with whom you can be honest and open about your concerns and fears, or to celebrate your successes with. Being able to 'bounce ideas off' another person will help you think through your ideas and plans, and possibly help you address issues that you hadn't thought of.
Choose your social and media influences carefully. If your friendships heavily stress 'things' or a lavish lifestyle, it's time to reassess those relationships. Likewise, don't watch or listen to television shows that show luxury living you can't afford. Same goes for your children, if you have them. Unethical marketing tactics are constantly targeting innocent children who are notoriously vulnerable. Even seemingly 'innocent' shows teach children that they must have certain things or wear the 'right' clothing in order to 'fit in'. Brainstorm to find new ways to be entertained or spend time together other than in front of the TV or at the mall.
Start saving, even before you've paid off all your bills. You may feel anxious about incoming bills after bankruptcy and long to be debt free. But while throwing all of your income at debt might make you feel better today, it may not be such a good idea in the long run. You need to start saving some of your money now, even if there are still some outstanding debts you're paying on. Having a savings 'cushion-, will give you a feeling of abundance: you actually get to "keep- some of your earnings. Saving will help you avoid using credit in the event of an emergency. Cars eventually need repairs, appliances give out, dentists are necessary. Having cash on hand in these situations could make all the difference to your post bankruptcy success.
Bankruptcy is a powerful tool to put you on the path to financial freedom. By playing it smart after bankruptcy, you can truly enjoy your fresh start.
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