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The number one tip for avoiding debt after bankruptcy

Each and every year, thousands of Washington residents find relief from overwhelming levels of debt. For many, that path is through personal bankruptcy, which can lead to the discharge of many types of consumer debt, including credit card debt. In the years that follow bankruptcy, it is absolutely essential that individuals understand how they got into debt in the first place, so that they are able to avoid sinking back into financial turmoil. Acknowledging past choices and making changes to current behavior is key to achieving lasting financial stability.

For many people, extreme levels of debt was never something that they planned. People tend to adjust their spending and their lifestyle to keep pace with their level of income. As they begin to earn more, they often purchase a bigger house, better toys and more expensive daily purchases than they made when money was harder to come by. Over time, that can lead to a scenario in which the bulk of monthly income is going right back out again to cover debt service.

At that stage, an unexpected turn of events can lead to disaster. If a spouse loses a job or becomes injured or ill, financial ruin can be right around the corner. Many families will react to a financial crunch by relying on credit to cover expenses; if things don't improve, however, that will only worsen the problem. For some, the end result is the realization that there is simply no way to repay those financial obligations. That is when bankruptcy begins to seem like the best possible course of action.

Once the bankruptcy process is complete, individuals and families need to take a different approach to their financial management. Instead of maintaining a lifestyle that requires most of their income to enjoy, they should make an effort to create a life that is both enjoyable and more affordable. Spending less and keeping debt levels low will allow a Washington resident the chance to build savings and invest for the future.  

Source: nerdwallet.com, "How I Ditched Debt: My Shiny Nickels", Anna Helhoski, April 4, 2017

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