“Will filing bankruptcy ruin my credit?” This is a common question asked by individuals contemplating a bankruptcy filing. Usually this question is answered by asking another question, “If you are considering bankruptcy, isn’t your credit already ruined?”
Individuals in serious financial crisis generally wait too long before seeking assistance. A recent survey by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project, a continuing study of consumer bankruptcy filings, found that over 40 percent of individuals said they struggled with financial difficulty for more than two years before filing bankruptcy.
If you are facing a serious financial crisis, it is in your best interest to educate yourself and to identify your financial options. Waiting can only exacerbate the situation. Sometimes individuals try to “save the sinking ship” by taking on more debt (e.g. a home equity loan) to solve their debt crisis. Others empty their retirement accounts to pay down short-term debt. These tactics are short-term solutions and will rob your family of its future financial health. Even sadder is that many individuals discover that their quick fix solutions did not solve their financial problems – only now they are facing bankruptcy with no equity in their home, or without a retirement account.
A bankruptcy filing will stay on your credit report for ten years and may have a detrimental impact on your ability to borrow money (at least in the short run). However, bankruptcy will also lighten your debt load significantly and give you a second chance to arrange your finances in a way that is manageable for years to come. If you are facing serious financial difficulties, speak to an experienced bankruptcy attorney before taking a quick fix route just to save your credit score. Don’t be “penny wise and pound foolish.”