How to Protect Your Credit When You Are Broke

November 10, 2010

Every so often a client will say, “I am hopelessly in debt, but I don’t want to ruin my credit score with bankruptcy.  It is still very good.”  This statement is just like the old joke, “I can’t be broke, I still have checks!”  A credit score is supposed to be an indicator of your financial health.  Unfortunately, many people assume that their financial health is indicated by the credit score.  Consequently, they continue to misuse credit, in many cases borrowing from credit sources to pay monthly credit obligations.  It is a vicious cycle of debt.

 

In today’s economy your credit score is not the only factor a lender considers when issuing credit.  Financial institutions are using new sources to profile their customers.  A recent article by Wall Street Journal writer Karen Blumenthal entitled New Ways Bankers Are Spying on You reports that banks are now examining rent and utility payments, bank deposits, as well as estimating your home’s value in order to gauge your financial health.  Blumenthal writes that in one case a bank customer was denied a credit after the lender reviewed his home loan records, determined that the value of his California home had declined, and noticed that his mortgage principal wasn’t declining—giving away that he has an interest-only mortgage.

 

Financial good health is living within a budget, using credit responsibly, controlling debt and excess spending, working towards short and long-term financial goals, and contributing to savings and investments.  It is difficult to manage just one of these aspects when a person is overwhelmed by debt.

 

Fortunately, the federal bankruptcy laws provide an answer for individuals living beyond their means and buried in debt.  Bankruptcy offers a legal means to restructure or eliminate your debts while protecting your family’s assets including real estate, vehicles, or retirement accounts.  During bankruptcy creditors cannot contact you directly and the vast majority of debtors do not lose any property.

 

If you are drowning in debt, don’t be fooled by a high credit score.  Your financial house is built on sand and it is time to rebuild on solid ground.  Consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and discover how the federal law can get you back on the path to financial health.

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