First, let me begin by saying I am not a financial planner and I do not pretend to be one. I am a bankruptcy lawyer. That being said, I think I am doing my clients an injustice by not talking to them about life after bankruptcy. Simply wiping away debts with no plan for the future is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, without giving you financial planning advice, I would like to give you some ideas on where to go to get sound financial planning to help guide you after your bankruptcy discharge.
My first advice is to point you towards a sound expert that teaches sound financial principles. First, I would look for some free to relatively inexpensive financial planning ideas. One source is Dave Ramsey. Dave Ramsey is a national syndicated radio show host and national best seller on financial planning. If you are interested, I can provide you one of his financial planning books for free. Dave Ramsey promotes basic principles such as living below your means and not above them. He also gives you some simple ideas on how to get out of debt and start accumulating wealth. Since you have gotten rid of most of your debt through bankruptcy, Dave Ramsey’s ideas on wealth building is your next step!
Second, begin to look at your present financial situation and plan towards the future. You can do this by looking at a simple financial calculator. Hummingbird has a simple financial calculator that is fun to play with. You can change and add numbers in this calculator that give you some ideas of what you need to save for retirement.
Third, begin to have family compacts for your life after bankruptcy. I tell all of my bankruptcy clients that know that they do not have credit card payments to make each month, they should begin putting their payments they used to pay the credit cards with towards a savings account. Dave Ramsey and many other financial experts recommend that a family have at least six months of liquid savings in case they lose their job for various reasons. If you are self-employed, I recommend nine to twelve months.
Fourth, have a financial mentor. Find someone who lives a frugal lifestyle and saves a significant portion of their income. This person should either have their home paid off or on their way to being paid off. The prospective mentor should be someone who motivates you and your family to save money and to begin living below your means.
Finally, change your mental outlook on living after your bankruptcy discharge. Totally change the way you think about finances. In the past you believed everyone must have a credit card. Wrong! Wipe away this myth. Second, wipe away the myth that you have to finance cars. After you read Dave Ramey’s books, you will realize that the average millionaire drives old used Hondas and Toyotas – not new expensive cars. The reason for this is that the average millionaire wants to save money – not throw money at something that quickly depreciates!