Re-establishing some stability in your life after a bankruptcy doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in Illinois, you should know that you can still enjoy life after bankruptcy, and it doesn’t have to be a life without credit. Bankruptcy isn’t right for everyone – even everyone who’s facing serious and mounting debts – so it’s important to discuss your options first with an experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyer. After bankruptcy, these recommendations can help you rebuild your credit – and your life:

1. Let go of guilt and shame. In 2010, more than 1.5 million bankruptcies were filed. You’re not alone, and you can’t change the past. In 2015, the economy is improving, and bankruptcy can give you a fresh start.

2. Reappraise. Ask yourself what you’ve learned from bankruptcy. Your answers should help you rebuild your finances and maintain them.

3. Create a realistic budget and stick with it. After bankruptcy, you must be super cautious with your finances. If you’ve never developed – or stuck to – a budget, now is the time. Make it a priority to pay all of your current bills in a timely manner.

4. Pick the right credit card. One key to rebuilding credit after bankruptcy is obtaining a secured credit card. By charging small amounts each month, you can gradually rebuild your credit. Avoid secured cards that charge high fees or that that don’t report your payments to the credit bureaus.

5. Know the truth about bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Some believe that bankruptcy will automatically disqualify you from getting a mortgage for at least 10 years. That simply isn’t true. Some also believe that you can’t get a credit card for seven years after a bankruptcy, yet 96 percent of the consumers who file bankruptcy are offered a new credit card within a year.

Again, bankruptcy is not for everyone, and if your debts seem unpayable, you should discuss your options as quickly as possible with an experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyer. If bankruptcy is the option you pursue, a good bankruptcy lawyer can help, and you’ll find there’s not only life after bankruptcy, there can be credit and prosperity too. If your debts are overwhelming you, make the call to a good bankruptcy lawyer today.