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11/23/07

How Bankruptcy Can Affect Your Credit Report

A bankruptcy is probably the worst, one trick pony that can happen to your credit report. Before you decide to file for bankruptcy, you need to think long and hard about the benefits and penalties. The most obvious benefit is that most of your debts will be discharged (with the exception of certain debts like mortgages, student loans, and IRS liens), however, a bankruptcy also means that your credit report and your credit score will be severely damaged.

There are many people that advocate against using or even obtaining credit. I have actually read articles that suggest that Americans are completely ignorant as to the purpose of a FICO score, and that anybody who tries to obtain a higher credit score is a fool. In my opinion, these advocates are nuts! There is more potential harm in not having a credit score than there is in maintaining a good credit score. What does this have to do with bankruptcy? Well, if you care nothing about your credit score or credit report, a bankruptcy probable will not be a big deal for you. Your debts are discharged and off you go. However, if you are a person that realizes that a high credit score could be a great asset to possess during your journey towards achieving success, you need to know the harm that a bankruptcy will cause to your credit score and credit report.

First, your credit score will be greatly reduced. By filing for bankruptcy, you demolish your creditworthiness. You are basically telling potential creditors that you have a very high risk of defaulting on any loan, therefore, you will not qualify for most loans.

Second, if you file for bankruptcy, that bankruptcy will be reported on your credit report for up to 10 years. I would like to believe that the bankruptcy report is automatically deleted from your credit report after 10 years, but the truth is, you will probably have to contact all three credit reporting bureaus and tell them to remove the bankruptcy from your file.

Last, because a bankruptcy severely damages your credit score and credit report, you better not plan on moving or buying a car for at least 10 years. Unless you have cash to afford these things, you will either get denied for a loan flat out or your interest rate will be so high that it is not worth taking out the loan.

If your credit score and credit report are important to you, consider all of your debt management options before deciding that bankruptcy is the best choice.

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