By Ike Ikokwu  Tue Jul 31, 2012

5 Things to Do After Bankruptcy

Ryan Dickey / Flickr source

Many people file bankruptcy every year. For some, it is a seeming death sentence and for others, it’s a new lease on life. I’d like to see you not only survive, but thrive and hence become a bankruptcy “sur-thriver.” Here are 5 steps to get you there.

Be Thankful: As bad as you think your bankruptcy might have been, there are millions of others that are worse off than you are, so be thankful. If you are like me, you’ll learn more from mistakes than your successes in life. Having a spirit of thankfulness allows you to learn from this experience. As with most lessons in life, if we don’t learn them the first time, we often are rewarded with another opportunity to learn it again.

Be Mad: Problems are never solved until you become mad about the problems. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing and expecting different results. I’ve found that without being emotionally invested in something, change oftentimes never comes. That’s why I want you to be mad about the circumstances that led you into bankruptcy so you can manifest the right kind of change in your life to propel you from lack to abundance.

Be A Life Long Student: In my estimation, in college we learn only about 40% of what we need to excel in life. The rest is learned after college through self education. The biggest investment you can make in yourself is in financial literacy. It is the cancer that’s eating away at our nation that far too many are not paying attention to. A greater level of financial literacy would have avoided the financial collapses we are seeing across the globe both at the macro and micro level.

Be Proactive About Improving Your Credit Score: Go to myFICO.com and order your credit report with your score (there is a fee). Then use the FICO Score Simulator to determine what combination of things you can do to improve your credit score. Paying down or paying off revolving credit lines, paying your bills on time and seeking new credit are things to do. Things not to do are to miss payments or “max out” your credit cards. You will need at least 3 new “lines” of credit with good payment history to rebuild your credit score.

Be A Wealth Creator: People relate to money as either a debtor, a saver or a wealth creator. By default, we start out as debtors. As time progresses we try to eliminate debt and we become savers. Very few understand what it takes to be a wealth creator since it requires a major money paradigm shift. While debt may have been a contributing factor to your bankruptcy, recognize that debt isn’t bad. It’s the mismanagement of debt that’s bad. Good debt has been used to acquire businesses, real estate, or post baccalaureate degrees that position you as a high income earner. Good debt as I’ve described in my book has been a critical path for many to creating wealth.

Apply these principles to help you become a Bankruptcy Sur-Thriver and win the money game!

Ike Ikokwu, “The Financial Independence Coach,” is an author, CPA, CFP and Registered Investment Adviser. He holds a bachelor’s in accounting and a master’s in personal financial planning. Ikokwu is president and CEO of Winning the Money Game with Ike, a tax and financial advisory firm, in Cumming, GA. His book “Winning the Money Game” highlights the corrective measures that turned around his fortunes after a personal bankruptcy. Find out more about Ike and his company’s services online at www.winningthemoneygame.net or www.ikeikokwu.com.

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