Debt Settlement Kept Us Out of Bankruptcy!

 

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Several years ago, my wife and I faced one of the darkest times of our lives.  Although we were in a financial mess, we found a way to work through it.

Hopefully, our story may help someone else. 

Here goes...

I never dreamed that I would ever be in a situation where I could not pay my bills!

With a good job that paid me a better than average income and my wife earning a good salary as well, we were  living the "good life", until.....

Our lives dramatically changed!

I had been working for the same company for about 10 years, was in charge of a large area of the country, and my sales and sales team usually led the company.

This meant that I was getting a nice bonus each year as well as my large salary!

Like I said, "Life was good!"

Although I had heard the rumors about a possible sale of the company to a larger competitor, I was told "Don't worry, even if this happens, you'll be OK".

Right!

One afternoon, my supervisor called me into his office and I could tell that something was up.

After a few minutes of chit-chat, he finally came out with it and let me know that the sale was going to happen, and that the new company was going to terminate my position and replace me and my team with their own people!

I just stood there...in shock, thinking...

 

            "What was I going to do?"

 

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So, here I was:

 

  • Unemployed (for the first time in my life!)
  • Have a mortgage (nice, large home!)
  • Family (2 kids, ages 8 and 10)
  • A little over 40
  • No real job prospects in a bad economy!

 

I knew I was in trouble and I was starting to panic!

 

 

JOB SEARCH, BILLS, and STRESS

 

I sent out dozens of resumes and went on several interviews, but no luck.

One night, my wife and sat down and completed a "Home Budget Worksheet".

Even though I kinda had an idea of what came in and what went out, I really hadn't ever taken the time to track it carefully. 

After all, we were making great money and really had nothing to worry about.

Boy, was I shocked to see the real numbers!

We found out that we were spending a lot of money on things we really didn't have to have, such as:

  • Starbucks coffee
  • Athletic club membership (that I rarely used)
  • Internet and TV Service that included about 1,000 shows and channels we rarely watched!
  • Going out to dinner a couple of times a week
  • You get the picture...

And then....

The hot water heater stopped working.  

The plumber said that there was nothing he could do to repair it as it was just too old.

With our savings just about gone, I had to use one of my credit cards to buy a new one and pay for the installation.  

Even though the total was about $1,000, it really only increased my minimum monthly payment by $25 or so.

And the spriral started...

With no one willing to hire me at anywhere close to what I was earning before, I finally had to take a job at just a little over minimum wage.  

It was better than nothing, but the final take home pay was just not enough to cover everything.

I was really beginning to stress out!

 

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CREDIT CARDS TO THE RESCUE?

We had no choice but to pay only the absolute essential bills like the mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc. and let the credit card bills, medical bills, and yes, even the car payment get behind. 

I mean, what else could we do?

Sure, there was a little equity in our home, but with our bad credit rating, we wouldn't qualify for a second mortgage or refinance.

Over time, I had to use the cards to make up the shortage we faced each month.

As the total credit card debt was increasing due to late fees and over-the-limit fees, we had to use a CASH ADVANCE once in a while just to pay a utility bill or buy groceries!

The crazy thing was, even though we hadn't made a payment in 3-4 months, and were getting nasty letters from our creditors, we would still get an OFFER from a credit card company for another card or to consolidate all the others with a BALANCE TRANSFER!

We actually had three cards from one company!  Made no sense!

Sure, this "rob Peter to pay Paul" action was holding them off, but we knew that a"day of reckoning was coming!"

 

DECISION TIME!!!

One evening, after the kids were asleep, we sat down at the kitchen table and took a long, honest look at our situation.

There just wasn't enough money to cover all of our expenses and bills.

 

It looked like BANKRUPTCY was our only option.

 

As we discussed this, my wife told me that she had a friend who had gone through a similar financial situation and had prevented choosing bankruptcy by going through a Debt Settlement Program.

I called the company she had used, but after a few minutes talking to the rep on the phone, I just didn't have a good feeling.

It seemed that all he wanted to do was to get us to "sign up" right away and that he really wasn't listening to our particular situation.

 

Tried the DIY method to negotiate settlements

 

I tried to contact the debt collectors myself, but soon learned that they did not care about our situation and were not very sympathetic and usually very rude.

Sure, they were willing to settle the account for a little less than the full balance, but they wanted the money in a lump sum!

I lost my temper and told one guy, " You %%#@*&^%, if I had that kind of money, I wouldn't be in this situation!"  He seemed as if he could care less.

I was angry and embarrassed!

 

CHOOSING THE RIGHT DEBT SETTLEMENT COMPANY

 

After several frustrating attempts like this, I went online and checked out a couple of debt settlement company's Better Business Bureau reports.

There weren't very many that were accredited and had an A+ rating with no complaints!

It was very evident that not all debt settlement companies were the same!

Since they all seemed to offer the same services, we decided to narrow the field by using the following tests....

 

 

After calling a few, we decided to go with a company that seemed to meet the criteria we wanted.

 

THE PROCESS

 

Once we enrolled, the first thing they did was to put a stop to those annoying and basically harassing calls from the collectors!

I can't tell you how great it was to have someone "in our corner" now!

We had stopped sending payments to the creditors (just didn't have the money!)for about the last 3 or 4 months and some of our accounts had already been turned over to a Debt Collector.

We started making monthly deposits (what little we our budget would allow) into an FDIC insured account for future settlements.

This monthly deposit was a little less than half of what the total minimum payments would have been, so this really helped!

 

Over time, the company was able to settle each of our debts!

 

Some of them were settled at less than 50%, saving us a lot of money!

I really appreciated the service we received.  It helped calm us during the whole process.

Well, it took about 4 years to get all of our debts settled (we had enrolled about $40,000 of various unsecured debts), but it was well worth it.

When we had questions or concerns, we were always able to talk to our representative and/or the negotiator.

Not only did we save thousands of dollars through the settlements, our CREDIT SCORES started to improve!

TODAY

Here we are, still in our home, no creditors calling, all of our credit cards have a $0 balance (we actually cut them all up!) and we FEEL GREAT!

Even though we could have, we are very glad we didn't turn to Bankruptcy Protection.

Hope this has been helpful!

 

Debt Settlement is not for everyone, but for us, it worked better than we expected:

FREE  Debt Elimination Summary

 

 

 Photo Credit

 

 

Tags: Credit Score, Bankruptcy, debt collectors, debt free, Best Debt Settlement Companies, credit cards

What Would it Feel Like if You Were DEBT FREE?

If you are living with the stress of too much debt, I have a question...what would you feel like if you were DEBT FREE?.  Regardless of your financial circumstances, you can be DEBT FREE...     How would that feel?

If you were to do a search about the average family debt in America, you would get statistics all over the board.  But, if you were to average them out, here is a basic picture of the average American family's debt:

  • Total debt per family                       $ 17,500
  • Credit card debt                              $   7,500

Now let's think about that for a minute.  If these are the averages, that means that some households have much lower over-all debt and therefore lower credit card debt. 

But on the other hand, that means that some households have much higher over-all debt and therefore much higher credit card debt!  After helping people solve their debt issues for over 10 years, I have found that our average client has credit card debt that totals about $25,000!

Big question...

debt freeHOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE DEBT FREE ? ? ?

Have you ever thought about it?

I'm not talking about dreaming about winning the   lottery, but finally paying off everything and everybody you owe!

No debt...zero...nada !

 

 

  • No more waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the bills!
  • No more standing at the check out counter and praying the card is not declined!
  • No more making excuses because you really can't afford to go with your friends!
  • No more dreading the end of the month,knowing there is not enough to pay all the bills!
  • Get the idea???  NO MORE ! ! !

I was talking to a good friend of mine about this and he said that to him, being DEBT FREE is better than about anything you could imagine!  I think he's right!

When you under the burden, pressure and stress of DEBT, you really can't enjoy life

I mean, what good is driving a new car if you know you really can't afford it?  Sure, you have a nice big home, but the truth is, you can barely keep up with the payments, much less pay for any maintenance or additional "trimmings". 

OK...I think I've made my point.  Are you ready be Debt Free?

Or...are you ready to...FEEL WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE

DEBT FREE?

 

DEBT FREE SHACKLES

 

STEP ONE

It's time to get down to business...financial responsibility.  (Really...has it come to that?)  Financial responsibility starts with an honest accounting for every dollar that comes in, but most important, that goes out.

Yep, the old BASIC HOUSEHOLD BUDGET.

List everything you are spending money on.  Not just the big items like rent or mortgage, car payment, groceries and utilities... I said you have to be honest!

What about:

  • Daily latte at Starbucks?  Really?  At $4 -$5 per day?
  • Health club membership you rarely use?  Seriously?
  • Buying lunch out instead of making a sandwich?
  • OK...I know I may be over stepping, but what about that smoking habit?  At $5/pack?
  • And yes, you better address all the other little "things" that can really add up!

It's time...and you know it.  Budget Worksheet FREE Download here!

STEP TWO

Now that you've found a few (or several) extra dollars from getting rid of some, if not all, of your "wasteful spending habits", you can start down the road to financial freedom!

Depending on your individual financial circumstances, you most likely will be a candidate for one of the following programs:

  • Debt "Roll-Up" or Snowball Plan
  • Debt Settlement
  • and if none of the above works...Bankruptcy

A DEBT "ROLL-UP" OR Snowball Plan

If you have found an extra $100 or more from making cuts from you "out-go" in the budget and, you have the self discipline to follow through with the program, this might just work for you.

Basically, you are going to list all of your unsecured debt (you can do all debts, but for now let's just tackle the unsecured ones).

List from the smallest balance to the largest balance.  Don't worry about interest rates now.

Le't say the smallest balance requires a $50/month minimum payment and you have an extra $200 (from all of the $ you were wasting).  You are going to pay $250 towards this balance until it is paid off.

After it is paid off, you are going to start on the next balance.  Let's say you have been making $100/month as a minimum payment on this one.  Now, you are going to add the $250 from paying off the first balance to the normal $100 for a total of $350 going after this second balance.

Once it's paid off, you're going to add $350 to whatever the minimum payment is on the next balance...and so on...and so on.

Guess what?  You're going to have all of these unsecured debts paid off before you know it!

HOW'S THAT GONNA FEEL???

Oh yeah, baby!!!

And since this worked so well on the unsecured debts, what about adding the extra money you now have from paying all of them off to your mortgage or student loans?  Wow!

Need some help with this?

 

If you don't have any extra money or if it seems a little "overwhelming", then you should consider a DEBT SETTLEMENT PLAN.

Debt Settlement is for people who, because of circumstances beyond their control, find themsleves in serious debt.  If you can't afford the minimum payments on all of your unsecured debts and/or some have been turned over to a debt collector, you would profit from a Debt Settlement Plan.

Debt collectors are usually willing to accept less than the balance due because of your financial hardship.  This can be 50% or more, again, depending on several factors.

Once the balance has been negotiated and the debt settlement agreement is paid per the debt settlement agreemenet, this account will be noted on your credit report as "paid-in-full" or "paid-as-agreed" or even "settled at less than the balance due". Regardless, the balance is ZERO....$0.

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

Let me ask you again...

HOW'S IT GONNA FEEL TO BE DEBT FREE!!!

OK, let's say that things are so bad you can't take advantage of the Debt "Roll-UP" Plan or even the Debt Settlement Plan, then you should consider Bankruptcy.

You will need to find a compentent bankruptcy attorney, but be careful!  You should interview two or three in your area and get some references.

You should not have to pay too much up-front for their services and you should not have to pay anything for the initial consultation.

But even if you have no choice but to file for bankruptcy, life is not over!  The bankruptcy process is not as bad as you imagine.  In fact, once it is completed, not only will you be DEBT FREE once again, you will be able to rebuild your credit a lot quicker than you think.

Sit back, close your eyes...one more time, let me ask you...

HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE DEBT FREE?

Then do something about it...

 

Photos by eric731

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: credit card debt, debt snowball, debt settlement, Bankruptcy, debt, debt free, debt and stress

Real Life Story on How to Become Debt Free!

Want to learn a method to become DEBT FREE?  Here's a recap of a real life success story you don't want to miss!

get out of debt

I had to comment on an article I read in the 4/2/14 edition of The Oregonian newspaper.

The title was:

           "Couple put strategy into action, paid off $127,000 in debt"

Here's a recap of what they did:

Had over $127,000 of debt:

  • Student Loans
  • Credit Card debt
  • Auto loans
  • Personal debt

It took them a little over 4 years, but they were able to pay off all of their debts and are now living DEBT FREE!

            HOW'D THEY DO IT (HOW YOU CAN TOO):

Find ways to save money/increase net funds. Here are some things you can do:

1. Adjusting your tax withholding.

If you are getting back a large TAX REFUND each year, consider changing the number of dependents/withholdings.  This alone generated about $100/month extra to put towards debts.
2.  Cut your household budget by trimming unnecessary "luxuries" (you can add them after you are DEBT FREE!)

Using grocery coupons. Become a "coupon expert".  This alone could help save you 20%-30% off your grocery bill each month!

Do you really have to have a "Starbucks" coffee each morning?  At an average of $4-$5 per day, that adds up to $100 -$150 each month!

Take a hard look at additional monthly expenses that you could "live without"...

  • Gym membership (you rarely use)
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Too many "premium cable channels"
  • Going out-to-eat several times a week

I know...but think about this...

As hard as giving some of those things up seems,

HOW GOOD WOULD IT FEEL TO BE 100% DEBT FREE?

OK, you get the idea.  So now you've found an extra $100 -$200 per month.

3.  What now?

List all of your debts showing:

  • Account
  • Balance
  • Interest Rate (not as important as you think at this point)
  • Minimum payment

Sort by the smallest balance first (don't worry about interest rates).

You are going to make all of the minimum payments, but you are going to add the extra (let's say $150/month) you found by making sacrifices, etc. to the smallest balance.

Once that one is paid off, you are going to add the extra $150 plus the minimum payment required on that smallest balance and add that to the minimum payment you are required to make on the second smallest balance.

For example:

Let's say you had several cards, but the Visa Balance was $1000 and the Discover Balance was $2500.

The minimum payment for the Visa was $30/month and the Discover was $65.

You are going to make a payment of $30 plus $150 to Visa until it is paid off.  At the same time, you are making the $65 to Discover as well as all of the other minimum payments required.

Once the Visa is paid off, you are going to take the $180 ($30 + $150) and add that to the $65 due on Discover.  Now you ar making $245/month to Discover (and all of the other minimums as well). 

Once the Discover card is paid off, you take that $245 and add it to the mimium on card # 3.

Get the idea?

Can you imagine how excited you will be when you start seeing those balances down to $0!

Yes, it won't happen over night, but before you know it, you are going to be 100% DEBT FREE!

This is not a new idea.  This is a Snowball Debt Reduction Plan.

If you are serious as this couple was, get your Snow Ball Calculator today!

This all sounds great, you say, but what if you can't keep up with the minimum payments despite making cuts trying to find extra funds, etc.?????

That is a very real problem that anyone that has had:

  • Loss of employment
  • Death in the family
  • Illness or Disability
  • Divorce

...can attest to.

If you cannot afford a Snow Ball Debt Reduction Plan, then you should consider a...

               DEBT SETTLEMENT PROGRAM

Debt Settlement is for those who are doing and trying everything they can to keep from seeking bankruptcy protection.

FREE EBook Debt Settlement  Basics

Basically, funds are deposited in a bank account until there are sufficient funds available to begin negotiations with your creditors/debt collectors.

Depending on several factors, your debts may be settled for 50% or less.

Recent Settlements See what we have  done for our clients!

 

Regardless of your financial circumstances, there is a solution! 

 

For more information about the couple who paid off the $127,000, visit their website at:

                 QueenOfFree.comQueenOfFree.com

 

Photo credit:

www.lendingmemo.com


 



 


Tags: debt settlement, debt collectors, debt elimination, snow ball plan, debt free, credit card, credit card debt relief portland oregon