Filing for bankruptcy can definitely seem like a scary and confusing process (especially if you haven’t yet turned to your local bankruptcy attorney for some assistance), but it definitely doesn’t help that there are quite a few myths around that make everything seem a little more intimidating. For example,
Myth: If you managed your finances better, you wouldn’t be wondering how to file for bankruptcy in the first place.
Truth: Although many people believe that you only file for bankruptcy if you’ve had trouble managing your money for years, it’s very possible to go bankrupt within a short period of time — and for reasons that are completely out of your control. It’s possible to avoid filing for bankruptcy by getting help from a debt management firm, but that option isn’t for everyone; if you don’t anticipate that you’ll be able to repay all of your debts and also have enough money for living expenses and emergencies, filing for bankruptcy can give you a little extra time while forgiving a portion of your debts so that a repayment plan is manageable.
Myth: You lose everything when you file for bankruptcy.
Truth: There are two kinds of bankruptcies that individuals can file: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often seen as a “quick fix” solution because the Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline can last as little as six months, although valuable items may be sold to help pay off your debts and certain types of loans (like student loans) won’t be forgiven. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy takes a little more time in terms of debt repayment, and it functions very much like a standard debt consolidation/repayment program. The standard Chapter 13 bankruptcy timeline lasts about three to five years, but it generally doesn’t stay on the person’s credit report as long as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy would (which is about 10 years), and the court typically won’t confiscate valuable items.
Myth: You won’t be able to open lines of credit after filing for bankruptcy.
Truth: Is it difficult to open up a new credit card or line of credit right after filing for bankruptcy? Definitely. But is it impossible to get a reasonable loan if you’ve filed for bankruptcy before? Not at all. Most credit card companies will continue sending you card applications, although they’ll have ultra-high interest rates until your credit score has some time to recover. The most important thing is that you’re able to pay back everything as determined by the court’s repayment schedule, and that you don’t make a habit out of filing for bankruptcy.
Filing for bankruptcy definitely isn’t a simple process, but it also isn’t the end of the world! For many people who are struggling with their finances — maybe including yourself — bankruptcy is the best way to start over fresh.