After going through a personal bankruptcy, you and other Illinois residents probably have many questions about how to get your financial life back on track. Will you be able to buy a home or car in the near future? When can you get a credit card? Is it even a good idea to get a credit card after a bankruptcy? The answers may be more favorable than you think.

A Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, but that does not mean your life should be on hold for that long. In fact, wise borrowing and spending choices can help you start rebuilding your credit immediately after your bankruptcy.

  • Start saving for an emergency. If you regularly set aside a small portion of your paycheck, you may avoid getting further into debt. If you have an unforeseen car repair or doctor bill, it can give you immense peace of mind to pay it with your emergency fund.
  • Look into your credit options, such as a secured credit card. Many lenders are willing to extend credit to those recovering from a bankruptcy because of the time restrictions on pursuing future debt discharges. A small line of credit could help your credit score if you charge small amounts and pay off the balance each month.
  • Pay your bills on time. Paying your bills responsibly, including your monthly utilities, can have a significant impact on your credit score.

Many lenders understand that bankruptcies are more common today than in years past, and they have adjusted their lending practices to assist people like you in getting back on their feet. As your credit score starts to rise, you are likely to find new opportunities, such as home and auto loans, becoming available to you sooner than you might have thought.