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Miami residents facing bankruptcy can be forgiven if they’re worried that their financial health will never be strong again. However, as a recent story by the San Francisco Chronicle says, declaring bankruptcy can actually provide struggling consumers with a second chance to live a financially healthy life.

The key is for consumers to take the right steps after their Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is closed. This means making smart financial decisions and gradually rebuilding their damaged credit scores.

According to the Chronicle story, there is no quick way for consumers who have declared bankruptcy to rebuild their credit scores. This doesn’t mean, though, that such consumers are consigned to a bad credit score for the rest of their lives.

Consumers need to start a new habit of paying all of their bills on time. They need to avoid running up additional credit-card debt. If they do these two things, over time their credit scores will improve. Consumers should be careful, too, to avoid working with companies that promise they can rebuild credit scores instantly. This simply isn’t possible, and companies that promise it are obviously running a scam.

The Chronicle story says that it’s important, too, for consumers to take the steps necessary to avoid ending up in financial trouble again. It’s easy for consumers to make the same bad spending decisions that led them to declare bankruptcy in the first place. What is more difficult is for consumers to carefully track and watch every dollar they spend and to set up a realistic household budget. While many may find this to be difficult, it will also likely prove to be rewarding. Those consumers who change their financial habits will find that their bankruptcy problems will soon be behind them.

Source: SF Gate, “How To Survive Bankruptcy,” Angie Mohr, May 9, 2012