What to Expect While in a Debt Settlement Program

Before you make the decision to enroll in a debt settlement program, here are some very important things to consider:

The decision to enroll in a Debt Settlement Program should only be made after careful consideration and weighing all of you options.

22853064975_8c547f714f_m.jpgFirst, some VERY IMPORTANT POINTS...

Not everyone should enroll in a debt management program! 

Debt Settlement is not an "easy" way to get out of paying the debts you owe!

Not all Debt Settlement companies are alike or legitimate, so be very careful in deciding!

You cannot just forget about your debts and the program!

A Debt Settlement Program may take a few years to complete.  It is not a "quick fix"!

 

NOT EVERYONE SHOULD ENROLL IN A DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM

I began helping people with debt problems almost 15 years ago, so I understand and appreciate it when someone calls seeking help.

Most of our clients (I'd say 95% or so) needed help after something very traumatic and/or financially devestating happened to them.

It could have been one or a combination of the following:

  • Unemployment, downsizing, or a significant reduction in  income
  • Death of a spouse of partner that cut income dramatically
  • Sickness or disability not only limiting income, but requiring payment for medications and treatment
  • Too little fixed income after retirement
  • Divorce

When a catastrophic event happens, it usually does not give us much, if any, warning. 

You have a mortgage, or rent, car payment, normal bills, a few credit card accounts that you are making all of your required payments on each month with maybe even a little left over.

Then, you lose a large portion of income and all of a sudden, there just isn't enough income to keep up with all of your obligations.

At first, you're concerned, but not too worried as you expect things to turn around in a short period of time.

But after a few months, the small savings you had (if any) is gone and you actually had to do a cash advance in order to meet your obligations.

Your credit cards begin to get maxed out and soon, you just simply cannot keep up.

What can you do?

You really only have a few choices:

In a Debt Management or Credit Counseling Program, usually your interest rates ared reduced, late or over-the-limit fees are stopped (and sometimes forgiven), you have one monthly payment to a company that distributes it to each of your creditors as per the agreement.

The calls and letters stop and usually, you debts are paid off in around 48 months.

THE PROBLEM IS....

The minimum total monthly payment is usually as much or MORE than you are currently unable to meet!

Now what?

If you cannot qualify for the Debt Management Program, then the Debt Settlement Program may be just what you need to avoid the 3rd, and in my opinion, the final option after all other options are examined, Bankruptcy.

Previously, I stated that a Debt Settlement Program IS NOT for everyone.

I believe that if you have taken out debt, then you should, if at all possible, repay the debt per the agreement.

Debt Settlement SHOULD NOT be a "get-out-of-debt-free" card!

By the way, a professional, qualified Debt Settlement Company will take the time to go over you particular situation and outline all of your options so that you can make an informed decision.

Be VERY SUSPECIOUS of any company that tries to "sign you up" very quickly without reviewing all of your options!

Once you are enrolled in a Debt Settlement Program, here is basically what will happen:

Most likely, you have missed or stopped payments to your creditors.  These creditors are going to send letters and will call you seeking payment.

While your account is still with the original creditor (it has not been charged off yet), that creditor has the legal right to call you concerning the debt.

However, they must comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act that protects consumers from harassment int he debt collection process.

Once your accounts are 120-180 days late, they most likely will be "charged off" and assigned or sold to a Debt Collector.

A Debt Collection Company will take accounts on consignment or buy debt in order to get some kind of payment from the consumer.

Once that account has been placed with the Debt Collection Company, they will send letters and start to call, and call, and call!

The good news is that now, you can PUT A STOP TO THESE CALLS!

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Just use the Free Sample Letter above, follow directions, and the call should stop very soon.  If not, your Debt Settlement Company will help put a stop to them!

The agent who enrolled you into the Debt Settlement Program has gone over your budget to determine an amount that works with your situation that you can contribute to your Settlement Fund each month.

It will be much less than the total monthly amount you were required to pay before!

While this fund is growing, a negotiator from the debt settlement company will contact the debt collector to start negotiating a settlement.

Depending on a number of factors, usually a settlement around 50% of the current balance will be negotiated.

After a written SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT is received, a the payment will be made.

In many cases, the final settlement agreement can be paid out in monthly payments (0% interest) from you settlement account over several months.

Again, it all depends on your particular situation.  Your negotiator will most likely discuss the situation with you.

Once the settlement is completed, the debt collector should contact all 3 major credit reporting bureaus that this account has a $0 balance and has been paid-as-agreed.

Over time, the process of settlement will IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT SCORE as your balances are going down.  But, it will not happen over night!

WHAT IF YOU CANNOT EVEN AFFORD A DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM?

There are times that even after enrolling in a debt settlement program your financial situation worsens and you simply cannot afford to continue.

In that case, BANKRUPTCY may be not only your only options, but your BEST OPTION.

I believe that bankruptcy should be a person's "last resort"

In fact, the bankruptcy laws have changed over time to make it very difficult for someone just to walk away from their financial obligations through bankruptcy!

You should consult an attorney who specializes in Bankruptcy! 

The attorney will meet with you (no charge for the initial meeting) and go over you situation and your options.

FINALLY....

While a Debt Settlement Program is not for everyone, in many cases, it will allow you to:

  • Avoid Garnishments
  • Reduce you monthly outgo
  • Avoid bankruptcy

Need help making your decision? 

Let us help...

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

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Tags: debt settlement, debt collectors, debt, stop the collection calls, bankruptcy attorney, garnishment

What to Look for in a Debt Settlement Company

Not all Debt Settlement Companies are alike. In fact, most do not offer the personal and professional service you will need.  

Here are the most important things to look for:

 

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Most people will experience a time in their lives when due to circumstances beyond their control, they fall victim to the easy access of credit card debt!

Just to name a few, these circumstances may include:

  • Death of a spouse or loved one, cutting your income dramatically
  • Trying to survive on a fixed income after retirement
  • Too little income after a serious illness or disability
  • Divorce
  • Unemployment
  • The ever increasing rise in the price of rent and products and services!

After helping people examine their options when faced with too much debt for almost 15 years now, I've noticed some common patterns that led to this situation:

At first, a credit card is used to make up the gaps or shortage of income.

There are certain things that you just have to have.... such as...

  • Gas for the car
  • Groceries
  • Unexpected repair or replacement of a major appliance

So, you use the credit card, planning on paying it off as soon as your financial circumstances change.

But, when they don't or you can't, then your may be forced to use another credit card to help make the minimum payment on the first card.

Or, you may need help paying the utility bill or another necessary expense. (sound familiar?)

This should be the most obvious warning sign that your are in serious financial trouble!

What can you do now?

Although your options are limited, YOU DO HAVE OPTIONS:

Credit counseling or a Debt Management Program

If you qualify (it may be too late), a Debt Management Company will contact each of your creditors and arrange a repayment plan that may include a reduction in interest rates and possibly the minimum required payment.

The problem with the Credit Counseling or Debt Management Program is that if you could not keep up with the minimum required monthly payments before, you most likely will not be able to meet the minimum monthly payment required now.

So now what?

Debt Settlement

In a Debt Settlement Program, rather than continuing to "rob Peter to pay Paul" as they say, you stop using your credit cards.

Most likely, you have stopped making minimum payments, but if not, now you are going to.

You make a monthy deposit into an FICD Insured bank account that will be used to negotiate settlements with your creditors and/or debt collectors.

A professional, top ranked Debt Settlement Company will spend time going over your particular circumstances to determine the best program and course of action you need.

There are several very important factors that must be considered before enrolling with a Debt Settlement Company.  Such as

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Are they registered with the state?
  • Are they accredited with the Better Business Bureau?
  • Accreditated and A +  by the Better Business Bureau 
  • What is their record of complaints?
  • Can you speak with the same representative each time?
  • Does the representative seem knowledgeable, patient and understanding?
  • What about "testimonies"  from clients?
  • Can you see some actual settlements?
  • Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!
  • If you change your mind after enrollment, can you not only opt out, but also receive a refund of your net reserve account?

 

A qulified,BBB accredited Debt Settlement Company will provide ALL OF THE ABOVE!

If not....keep looking!

But, what if you cannot qualify for a Debt Settlement Progam?

It may be time to consider Bankruptcy.

Yes, I know it sounds terrible, but in the right situation, it may be the fresh start you need!

But, be careful when looking for a qualified bankruptcy attorney!  

Make sure that bankruptcy is their only specialty and that they are willing to meet with you for an initial consultation, FREE OF CHARGE!

Finally....

Dealing with the stress of a financial hardship requires information and help.

A qualified Debt Settlement Company may be just what you need, but you need to do a little homework first!

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

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Tags: credit card debt, debt settlement, debt management, bankruptcy attorney, better business bureau

Preventing Wage Garnishment in Oregon

It is much easier to PREVENT a WAGE GARNISHMENT than to STOP A WAGE GARNISHMENT! If it's already hard to pay bills with your take home pay, what would you do if that was cut by 25% more!

Here are some VERY IMPORTANT things you must know in advance.

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I've been helping people deal with debt issues for almost 15 years now.

I've taken hundreds of calls from stressed-out, scared, "OMG, what am I going to do now?" people who had had their payroll check garnished!

The title of this blog is Preventing Wage Garnishment in Oregon, but it applies to all states.

OK, so how do you PREVENT a Wage Garnishment?

If you have just started to fall behind or have fallen behind on making the required payments on your credit cards or other unsecured debts, here is what normally happens BEFORE a wage garnishment begins:

  • First, you get calls & letters from your original creditor
  • Then, you get Calls & letters from a debt collector
  • You may be issued a Summons
  • You may get a Judgment awarded against you
  • Finally, you may be Garnished

 

Let's walk through what you MUST DO in order to PREVENT A WAGE GARISHMENT:

 

Calls & letters from your original creditor(s)

When you are behind in making your monthly payments due to your creditors, those creditors will try  to help you get caught up and/or get a fresh start on repaying your debt.

Let's face, the creditors want to get repaid plus interest and fees, so at first (maybe the first 3 months or so you are behind), they will call and send letters.

Unfortunately, as long as your account is with the original creditor, they have the right to call you EVEN if you write a letter to stop calling.

Now, once they charge off or assign your account to another agency...debt collector, you can put a stop to those calls.  I'll show you how in just a minute.

I understand how stressful and possibly embarrassing it is to get calls like that, so at this point, rather than ignore them, try saying something like this:

"Yes I know that I am behind, and I fully intend to get caught up just as soon as possible.  But, please stop calling me."

Sometimes this works and the original creditor will reduce or even eliminate the calls. 

But, don't expect that to happen every time.

Sometimes they can be very rude!  In that case, don't waste your time trying to explain or arguie,  just hang up!

As to the letters....

You may get a letter offering you:

  • Reduced payments for 6 months or so to allow you to get caught up...or,
  • A settlement offer to reduce the balance you owe, if you can that amount in a lump sum or just a few months.

While I am not in favor of the first offer which is called a "Hardship Plan", sometimes the SETTLEMENT OFFER is not bad...if you have the funds to take advantage of it!

If the original creditor cannot get you into some kind of repayment plan or  "back on track" in 3-4 months, they most likely will charge off, transfer or sell you account to a debt collector.

 

Calls & letters from a debt collector

 

ISo, the calls and letters start again!  Lots of calls and letters!

But now, you can put a stop to those calls.  Here's how:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

But again, just because the calls stop, the letters continue, so you are not "out of the woods" yet!

Depending on the type of debt collector your account has landed with, you may be able to get a settlement, whether in a lump sum payment or possibly a settlement paid out over several months.

Here are some actual debt settlements we have completed for our clients:

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

If your still not able to make REASONABLE payment toward a settlement, then the debt collector may decide to FILE A CLAIM and then you would get a SUMMONS.

 

Summons

 

If you have ever had a summons delivered to you at home or even at work, it is a very stressful and humiliating experience!

Although most of the time the summons is delivered, in person, by a person contracted by the debt collector, sometimes a summons may be delivered by a sheriff officer!

 

BUT....DON'T....FREAK....OUT!

 

  • You are not going to jail!
  • They are not going to take your TV or other "stuff".
  • In about 99.9% of the time, you are never going to court.

So again....

DON'T....FREAK....OUT!

The SUMMONS will state who the PLAINTIFF is (that's the creditor or debt collector) and name you as the DEFENDANT.

It will also state what the amount of the claim is (how much you owe now, including interest, fees, etc.)

Then it will state something to the effect that you have"20 (or 30) days to give an ANSWER to the court at (address, etc.).

 

DOES THIS MEAN YOU HAVE TO GO TO COURT?

 

NO! NO! NO!

 

It means that if you KNOW FOR CERTAIN and HAVE PROOF that you do not owe this CLAIM, then you can file an ANSWER to the court in the allotted time (usually 20-30 days from receipt of the summons).

The ANSWER must be in the correct, legal document form and so you most likely will need an attorney to prepare itAnd, in addition to attorney fees, their is a hefty fee to file the ANSWER with the court!

So again, don't start down that road unless you know you can prove that the claim has no merit!

 

CAN A CREDITOR OR COLLECTOR GARNISH YOUR WAGES OR BANK ACCOUNT AT THIS POINT???

 

NO!

It is a misunderstanding that just because you are behind on your payments a creditor or collector can get a wage garnishment.  NOT TRUE!!!

Before that can happen, a JUDGMENT must be awarded by the court.

I'll explain more in just a minute...

 

OK, YOU GOT THE SUMMONS, YOU OWE THE DEBT....NOW WHAT?

 

This could be the most important point for you to take from this article...

 

DO NOT IGNORE THE SUMMONS !

 

I can't tell you the number of times a prospective client or even one of our current client calls and says that they have been garnished and admitted that they had received the summons, but just ignored it!

 

REALLY????   WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???

If a creditor or debt collector goes to the EXPENSE and TROUBLE OF FILING THE CLAIM and PAYING FOR IT TO BE DELIVERED, DON'T YOU THINK THEY ARE SERIOUS?

On the other hand....

In most cases, we have helped our clients AVOID GARNISHMENT by either negotiating a:

  • SETTLEMENT, LUMP SUM OR TERM PAYMENTS on a reduced balance, or
  • STIPULATED AGREEMENT

So, just because you have received a summons does not mean it's too late, but, we need to move fast to prevent a...

 

Judgment

 

Most of the time, a person who is in such a severe financial situation that they cannot keep up with their debts and these debts have gone to a debt collector and a settlement or repayment plan could not be arranged, a DEFAULT JUDGMENT will be granted by the court to the plaintiff (creditor or debt collector).

Now, once the JUDGMENT has been awarded, NOW, AND ONLY NOW, they (the plaintiff) can apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT.

Most states allow for up to 25% of the "take home/after tax check" to be garnished (deducted) !!!!

There are EXEMPTIONS FROM WAGE GARNISHMENT.

Some include:

In Oregon, income under $218 after tax/take home income. In other words, if you bring home less than $915 per month, you cannot be garnished.

Other sources of income that are exempt from garnishment:

  • Social Security
  • Retirement
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Public assistance (welfare)
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Disability Income (other than SSI)
  • Workers compensation
  • Spousal and Child support

WARNING!!!   If you have a judgment against you and receive income from one or more of the sources above, you should make sure your bank understands that any garnishment request should be denied!

If you don't and the bank doesn't do it's "due fiduciary diligence" and transfers your funds, you can get them back, but it may take some time!

 

OK, if you were barely paying the bills before, and 25% is deducted from your check, what are you going to do now?

 

BANKRUPTCY

 

When I refer to "bankruptcy", I like to call it "BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION".

The bankruptcy laws in our country and your state, are there to PROTECT you from losing everything you have when a dire, financial crisis hits you!

Yes, I think a person should do everything possible to AVOID bankruptcy, but when all else fails, the you need to seek the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

The bankruptcy attorney can not only advise you on what type of bankruptcy plan you qualify for, but they will put a stop to all calls and collection efforts by your creditors.

 

FINALLY . . .

If, or when, you face a financial hardship and you just can't keep up with the payments, you have options!

Do not...I repeat...DO NOT "hide your head in the sand"!

 

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

 

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Tags: debt collection, wage garnishment, debt settlement, oregon wage garnishment, debts, bankruptcy attorney

Dealing With Debt, Part 3, Bankruptcy

If you find yourself unable to pay your bills, about to lose your home, or in a financial hole so deep that you can't climb out of, then it is time to look into filing for bankruptcy protection.

This is the final blog about DEALING WITH DEBT.  There are basically 3 ways to deal with debt:

 

BankruptcyIn a bankruptcy, you will eliminate most of your debt or you will be able to schedule a repayment plan that will fit your budget, given your dire financial circumstances.

But, bankruptcy comes at a cost of your credit score and possibly some of your assets.

Yes, after you complete your bankruptcy, you can still get credit, but usually the interest rates are higher and the credit limits are lower.

This is why it is so important to gather as much information you can from an experienced bankruptcy attorney.  The initial bankruptcy consultation should be free and most bankruptcy attorneys will work with you as to payment of their services and fees.

Individuals filing personal bankruptcy will generally be able to file a CHAPTER 7 or a CHAPTER 13 bankruptcy.

Under normal circumstances, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will take about 90 to 180 days to complete.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will take about 3 - 5 years, depending on several factors.

Good news!!!!  Once your bankruptcy attorney starts the process, the debt collection calls will stop.  If you are not sure if bankruptcy is the best choice for you and would like to put a stop to the debt collection calls, click below:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

Individuals or couples with few assets and are looking for a FRESH START, tend to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy is basically a liquidation bankruptcy in which a debtor trades all of their non-exempt assets as payment for all of their dischargerable debt.  Many, if not all, personal possessions are protected by exemptions and most consumer debt, such as:

  • Credit Cards
  • Store Cards
  • Personal Loans

Individuals or couples looking to catch up on mortgage payments, get rid of 2nd mortgages, or who are ineligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  A chapter 13 bankruptcy involves making a deal with the court to pay a certain amount of your income to the court each month in return for getting rid of all of your dischargerable debt. 

People will choose a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy because there are certain types of debt that only go away in a chapter 13 bankruptcy and, there are certain advantages that can only be had in a chapter 13 bankruptcy.  This type of bankruptcy can be used to catch up on mortgage or child support payments.  However, there is a danger of not completing your plan and thus not getting a discharge.

Filing bankruptcy does not mean that you will lose your home or your car. 

In fact, in some situations, filing bankruptcy will even allow you to keep a car or home that you were about to lose.  This is because bankruptcy allows you to protect some or all of your assets with exemptions.  These are set amounts of personal property that you can protect during a bankruptcy.  Retirement accounts are generally protected as are certain support payments that you may be receiving.

Filing for bankruptcy does not mean that everyone you know will find out!

Only the necessary parties are inform of your bankruptcy filing.  Individuals who receive notice of your bankruptcy filing are creditors, co-debtors, and co-owners of shared assets. 

A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report up to 8 years, but it will have less effect with each passing year.  Filing bankruptcy may hurt your credit score in the short-term, but it allows you the chance to start rebuilding it right away.

Still not sure how to deal with your debt?  Get answers by clicking below:

 

Blog article written by: Noah Bishop of BishopBankrutpcyLaw.com

 

Photo by: www.stockmonkeys.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: debt settlement, Credit Score, Bankruptcy, debt management, debts, chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankrutpcy, bankruptcy attorney, credit cards

Is Debt Settlement Your Best Option?

When faced with too much credit card and other unsecured debts, you really have only a few options. 

Here's some tips how to determine your best option?

I'm talking about credit card debt as well as other unsecured debts such as:

  • Personal loans
  • Private student loans
  • Store cards
  • Medical bills
  • Repossessions

Next to a very large consolidation loan (personal or home equity type), borrowing money from family and friends, withdrawing money from your 401(K) or other retirement plans, you really only have 3 basic options.

 

  • Debt Management (or in some cases using a Snowball Debt Reduction Plan)
  • Debt Settlement
  • Bankruptcy

Notice I didn't mention using the creditor's offer of a Hardship Plan as this is only a temporary, short term fix, that only delays the inevitable repayment of the debt!

And also notice that I didn't mention the so called "Pay-Day" loans.  Stay clear of those at all costs!!!

Do you qualify for a Debt Management Program?

If you are only able to make the minimum payments required of all of your credit cards and other unsecured debts, you should know by now that it may take you many years (anywhere from 10-15, depending on which article your read) and 3-4 times the original amount borrowed to repay those debts!

If you enroll in a Debt Management Program (formerly and sometimes still referred to as a Credit Counseling Program), here's what usually happens:

The Debt Management Company will contact each of your creditors.  Most of the hundreds upon hundreds of creditors usually have an agreement with Debt Management Companies to:

  • Lower or eliminate interest rates
  • Forgive or reduce late or over-the-limit fees
  • Re-Age your account (make it look like it you are not behind on payments)

You will make ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT to the Debt Management Company.  Although some of the Ads you see or hear seem to say that they can reduce your monthly payment, that is not usually the case.

Credit card companies figured out many years ago that they could make more money by NOT HAVING THE CONSUMER PAY OFF THE CARDS!  That's right, the credit card industry actually makes more profit from late fees, over-limit-fees, annual fees and low minimum monthly payment requirements, than they do on the high interest rates they charge.

For some shocking insight into what credit cards companies are doing, click here.

I don't want to get lost in the various calculation methods the credit card companies use to calculate the minimum monthly payment, but most credit card companies only charge 2% of the balance/12.

In most Debt Management Programs, the total or single monthly payment you will be required to make is about 2.7%.  This includes the payment to the Debt Management Company.  Did you really think they worked for free because they are incorporated as a "non-profit"?

Example:  Let's say you have a total of $20,000 of credit card debt.  (BTW...the average consumer has 8 cards with an average total balance of $9,000!)

$20,000 x 2% = $400 minimum monthly payment required now

In a Debt Management Program, $20,000 x 2.7% = $540 per month or $140 more!!!

If you are barely making the minimum payments now, how can you increase it by $140?

But before I move on to the second option, if you could make increase your monthly payments each month, why not check out a SNOWBALL DEBT REDUCTION PLAN?

A Snowball Debt Reduction Plan is a great way to reduce your debts more quickly and avoid paying the cost to a Debt Management Company.

However, not everyone has the discipline to set up, monitor and track a Snowball Debt Reduction Plan.  If you're like this, maybe you could use a little help...

But what if you don't have any extra money at the end of the month?  In fact, you are not  making the minimum payments and some or all of your accounts are "past-due" or in collections?

Then you should consider a Debt Settlement Program.

Or, perhaps you have fallen behind because of:

  • Small fixed retirement income
  • Disability
  • Unemployment
  • Divorce
  • Death of spouse or partner
  • Too little income...too much debt!

A Debt Settlement Program may be just what you need!

  • One monthly payment (customized to fit your existing budget)
  • Most debts will eventually be settled for 50% or more
  • Avoid seeking bankruptcy
  • Become DEBT FREE in 36-48 months 

Want a complete overview?  Download our FREE BOOKLET:

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

 

What about Bankruptcy?

If your financial situation is such that you not only cannot afford extra payments required of a Debt Management Program, a Snowball Debt Reduction Plan or a Debt Settlement Program, then you need to consult an attorney about BANKRUPTCY.

There are differing opinions about bankruptcy, but regardless, if you have accumulated so much debt that realistically you will never be able to repay, you owe it to yourself to check out your bankruptcy options.

Other questions?  Let us help.

 

 

 

 



 

 

Tags: snowball, credit card debt, debt settlement, Bankruptcy, credit counseling, debt settlement in oregon, bankruptcy attorney, debt relief

Living Debt Free in 2014

2014 is just around the corner and here are a few tips on how you can live DEBT FREE!

If you are like millions of consumers, you probably have taken on too much debt this last year. 

This could be due to just too much spending or because of circumstances beyond your control, but either way, carrying too much debt creates all kinds of stress!

Here's a few tips that can help you live debt free in 2014:

If you don't know exactly where you are financially, then it's time to find out!  Many people have no real idea of what they are spending money on.  If this is you, it's time to do some homework and complete an honest (that's right...list everything coming in and going out!) budget worksheet.

Budget Worksheet FREE Download here!

Once you know where you stand, it's time to decide what the best plan of attack on those debts should be.

If you are just making the minimum payments on all of your unsecured accounts, then you know it could take many years to finally repay those debts.

You may be qualified for a DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM.

Advantages of a Debt Management Program:

  • ONE Monthly Payment
  • Reduction or elimination of your interest rate
  • Forgiveness of over-the-limit or late fees
  • Usually DEBT FREE in approximately 48 months (varies)

Click here to learn more about a Debt Management Program.

But, if you are not making the minimum payments, and have had some or all of your accounts going to collections, you should consider a DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM.

Advantages of a Debt Settlement Program:

  • ONE Monthly Payment which is usually about half of what your total payments are now!
  • Eliminate Debt Collection calls
  • Settle many of your accounts at 50% or less (varies)
  • Usually DEBT FREE in 36-48 months (this will also vary with the amount of debt)

 FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

But, what if you just are so far behind that you do not have any discretionary income (money left over after all the major bills are paid)?

If that is the case, then you may need to consider BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION.

Notice I said "Bankruptcy Protection".  Bankruptcy allows someone who is just too far in debt to ever recover, keep a very large portion of their assets (home, car, etc.) and have most or all of their debts dismissed.

There are different types of bankruptcies, and you should consult a BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY to decide which one would be best for you.

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

You can be DEBT FREE, but you have to take action.

If it seems overwhelming, we can help.


 

 

Tags: debt collection, debt settlement, debt and stress, debt management, bankruptcy attorney

When is Bankruptcy the Best Option?

when is bankruptcy the best optionWhen you have so much debt that you are not able to keep up with the minimum payments, your options are limited:

  • Debt Management (or credit counseling) Program
  • Debt Settlement Plan
  • Bankruptcy

When is bankruptcy the best option?

Let me briefly explain how the first two options work:

DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

A Debt Management Program is a program designed for those who have substantial unsecured debt (mainly credit cards) and realize that even though they are making the required minimum payments, the balances are barely going down!

The average person will take 10-15 years (some experts estimate longer) to repay credit card debt.

And when and if it is repaid, the average consumer will end up paying back 3-4 times the original amount that they borrowed!

Think about that... If you have say, $20,000 of credit card debt and are just barely making the minimum payments, you could end up paying back $60,000 to $80,000!

In a Debt Management Program, you will have:

  • One low monthly payment
  • Reduced or sometimes even 0% interest rates!
  • Waived late fees (usuallyl)
  • Eliminated your debt in about 4-5 years, saving thousands of dollars in interest and fees!

What if you cannot afford the typical 2.5% payment required of a Debt Management Program?

If you cannot afford the payment of a Debt Management Program, then you should consider a DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM.

In a Debt Settlement Program, you will have:

  • One low monthly payment (determined by your financial situation)
  • Debts negotiated at approximately 50% of the balance
  • Eliminated your debt in just 3-5 years, depending on an individual's circumstances

What if you cannot afford the reduced monthly payment of a Debt Settlement Program?

If you cannot afford the payment required of a Debt Management Program or a Debt Settlement Program, bankruptcy may be your best option.

There are basically 3 areas to examine in order to deteremine if bankrutpcy is the best option:

  • Financial
  • Ethical
  • Legal

By the time you are considering bankruptcy, you should have already explored a Debt Management Program and a Debt Settlement Program, and determined that you cannot afford either of the reduced monthly payments. You have explored the FINANCIAL aspect of determining when bankruptcy is the best option.

But what about the the ETHICAL aspect of bankruptcy?

In most cases, getting to the point of bankruptcy is not your fault.  Maybe you:

  • Lost your job
  • Lost a spouse or loved one
  • Sufferred a major illness or injury
  • Went through a terrible divorce
  • Or, many other reason too numerous to list

The point is, most people do not get to the point of bankruptcy from just spending too much.

No matter how you look at it, bankruptcy is basically saying, "I cannot keep my promise to repay my debts." It an tremendously emotional decision, and one that can have lingering effects for years.

Before you seek a bankruptcy attorney's counsel, ask yourself if there is any way you can repay your debts WITHOUT going bankrupt?  Can you:

  • Ask for help from friends or family
  • Get a second job
  • Make cost saving/budget cuts or even create a crisis budget
  • Sell some of your "toys" (extra car, boat, RV...)
So now that we've looked at the FINANCIAL and ETHICAL reasons for seeking bankruptcy, let's briefly discuss the LEGALaspect.

I am not an attorney, so I am not goint to give any legal advice. To explore the LEGAL aspects of filing bankruptcy and to see if you qualify for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to seek the help of a qualified bankruptcy attorney.

What's the difference between a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?  CLICK HERE to find out more.

There are many factors to consider when determining if bankruptcy is the best option. We can help you make the best choice with a FREE no obligation consultation with one of our Debt Solutions Specialists.  Click on the link below or simply give us a call at 1-877-492-4109

 

 when is bankruptcy the best option

 

 


 

Tags: credit card debt, Bankruptcy, debt relief in Portland Oregon, debt management vs debt settlement, chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankrutpcy, bankruptcy attorney, unsecured debt