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Should I file bankruptcy? Contact a credit repair agency? Or just pay off the open collections?
I have 2 "public records" and 3 open collections and about 4 closed collection accounts, 13 inquiries. The publice records total about $18000 and the open debts total about $3000. No credit card debts, all are really just loans and medical bills. I am only 22 years old and have made a lot of dumb decisions in my life. I also just lost my mother last year so things aren't all that great for me. I am also a proud father. I am learning how important credit and financial stability is. I really wish I could build my credit and become financially secure so I can finally have peace of mind. Should I file bankruptcy? Contact Lexington Law Firm? Or just pay the collection agencies? Please help.

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First off, quit beating yourself up.  We all have had our "young & stupid" days (please don't ask about mine) and those are part of growing up because we learn from our mistakes, hopefully.  I do not recommend bankruptcy because it hurts your credit for 10 years.  First off is making sure all the items you are talking about are YOURS, because there have been mistakes made in credit reports.  I get mine via and go for all three reports.  Dispute any wrong information.  Look for the date the items are due to fall off your credit report, which isn't likely to be too soon due to your young age.  The public record accounts will have to be paid up; contact the hospital to see what payment arrangements can be made.  They may have an income contingency plan for the payments.  Dave Ramsey's site has good ideas on how to make repayments and credit negotiations that will work for all.  Please re-read the articles on this site about credit because they are very helpful.  Avoid letting anything go into collections since that reflects badly on your character. 

I don't recommend going to any 'credit repair' companies because they charge you money to do something you can do for yourself, and no one can do things any faster than you can.  Been there and found lots of information online that helped me.  You can handle this yourself with the right advice to guide you.

Sorry to hear you lost your Mom at such a young age.  That is the pits!!        

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You should proceed slowly and cautiously. The first thing that you need to do is a TON of reading about credit and about your dilemma. Once you are better informed on credit you will be able to make the best decisions on how to proceed. I do not know what exactly your situation is, so I cannot advise you on what to do as there are many factors that will go into how you should proceed. Whatever you do, don't "just pay" the collections, you would want to attempt to get a "Pay for Delete Agreement" if you decide that you will pay them, so do some reading on that in addition to all of the other reading that I recommended. For any more specific questions, please feel free to ask.

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