A prospect wrote, "Christmas is over and I charged too much!" Can you help with debt settlement advice?
When someone calls and tells us that their credit card debt has grown to a level where they cannot keep up with the minimum payments, they are in serious trouble.
Bankruptcy should be the last option, so what can they do?
First, we advise that they should get a clear financial picture of their situation. They need to complete a BASIC BUDGET in order to find out exactly where they stand.
Next, it's time to be honest with yourself.
If your net disposable income (net left over after all bills are paid, excluding credit debt) is less than the minimum total payments required on all of your credit cards, then you really only have 3 options:
1. Do you qualify for a Debt Management Program? If you do, then you will have ONE MONTHLY PAYMENT that will be disbursed to each of your creditors according to agreements made with each creditor.
Some creditors will reduce the payment, interest rate and fees to allow you to pay off 100% of the balance over approximately 48 months.
Your creditors will NOT be calling you and according to FICO, being enrolled in a debt management program IS NOT A FACTOR of your credit score.
If you qualifiy for a debt management program, it would be your best option.
2. If the total payment of a debt management program is still too high, then DEBT SETTLEMENT may be your best option.
Debt Settlement is a program designed to negotiate reduced payoffs on you unsecured credit card debt. usually, the settlement is at 50% or so.
Instead of making regular monthly payments to your creditors, you will save an amount each month that your budget can handle.
If you are not disciplined enought to leave this account alone, you may need to seek the help of a professional Debt Settlement Company.
Once a settlement has been negotiated and payment completed, the account will be listed on your credit report as "settled" or "settled at a reduced amount" or something like that.
People always ask, "Will this hurt my credit score?"
At this point, that should not be a consideration. The goal is to get these creditors "paid off" and not have to file for bankruptcy!
There will be time to improve your credit score later.
If you cannot qualify for Debt Management or Settlement, then your only option may be bankruptcy protection.
Make sure to seek the counsel of a bankruptcy attorney who specializes in bankruptcy.