American Center for Credit Education
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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

Q. If my credit report isn't cleared up as a result of bankruptcy, what does it mean when people say that bankruptcy offers a “clean slate?”

A. As you have already gathered, a bankruptcy doesn’t wipe your credit report clean. Whatever past delinquencies, judgements, or repossessions you’ve had will stay on your credit report for a predetermined time; a bankruptcy will not change this.  What’s more, bankruptcy itself is a matter of public record and will also become part of your credit report. 

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding bankruptcy, including what it is, what people can and cannot do in bankruptcy, and what assets they can and cannot keep.  You cannot keep a home, for instance, and not make the mortgage payments.  Nor could you keep a car if you don’t continue paying what you owe on it.  Ultimately, the law determines what assets you can and cannot keep and what debts you can and cannot file on. An attorney can advise you on the particulars of the process.

People file for bankruptcy because they are unable to repay their debts. When you file for bankruptcy, you no longer have to repay the debts you declare bankruptcy on.  And you do not have to live forever with debts you have no ability to repay. In this sense, you are starting over, which is in a way a fresh start or a clean slate. But it’s important not to assume anything about the process or what you can expect from bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy laws were designed to allow people to start over when their debts are too large for them to repay. These laws were designed so that bankruptcy is the option of last resort and to prevent abuse in the bankruptcy process.  Whether bankruptcy is the best option for you depends on your income, assets and the types of debt you have.  

My advice is to always investigate all of your options.  If you are having trouble paying your debts, you should contact a non-profit accredited credit counseling agency.  If you have more questions on bankruptcy, you should consult an attorney that practices bankruptcy law.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.