Covid, Loss of Income, Debt, Bills...       What Can I Do?

We've all been though a very unusual and stressful couple of years due to Covid and the resulting ramifications such as:

  • Personal illness 
  • Family illness 
  • Loss of Income 
  • Unemployment



Were you one of so many people who were forced to use credit cards in order to meet their basic needs?

If so, you may find yourself with more debt requiring more payments than you can afford.


As stressful as this is, you have options.

Let's say that you've accumulated $10,000, $20,000 or more of various credit card or other unsecured debts such as:

  1. Medical bills
  2. Store Cards, or even
  3. Personal Bank loans

The total minimum monthly payment due each month is just too much for you right now.

                             What can you do?

Many people are forced to miss payments or use one card to make payments on the others.

Although you know this is a terrible idea, you have no other choice.

Another option may be to pull money out of your home equity through an equity line of credit or even refinancing your mortgage.

Again, not always the best idea, but what else can you do?

Maybe you have a parent, family member or friend who will loan you money.

I've seen this many times and the results are not pretty!

                           OK...What are my options???

Your credit card company may send you an offer to modify your payment options.

Even though this may sound good, usually, this is not a very good idea!

There are programs that may reduce and/or eliminate interest and fees.

These used to be referred to as "Credit Counseling" or "Debt Management" programs.

The problem with these type of programs is that even though the interest may be lowered and "over-the-limit" or "late fees" may be forgiven, the over-all payment is about what you should be paying now!

Unfortunately, some people decide to file for Bankruptcy.  If you financial hardship is bad enough, then Bankruptcy may be your only option.

But, you need to understand that there are several types of Bankruptcy and depending on your particular situation, you may or may not qualify.

Bankruptcy will stay on your record for 7-10 years, depending on the type of Bankruptcy you choose.

With a Bankruptcy on your record, you will find it more difficult to rent an apartment, qualify for a car loan or even hurt your chances of landing a job.

Although Bankruptcy may be the right option for you, be sure to think it through!

Here's an article that may help:

             "Bankruptcy: How it Works, Types and Consequences"


                     What about Debt Settlement?

Once your unsecured accounts (mainly discussing credit cards) become delinquent 3-4 months, they most likely will be turned over to the credit card's internal recovery department, assigned to a collection agency or sold to a debt buyer.

This is when there should be an opportunity to settle your debt for less than the total balance due.

A lump sum may be required or a good settlement with monthly payments (with no more interest) can be negotiated.

Even though you can do-it-yourself, negotiating with debt collectors can be very frustrating, time consuming and stressful!

You want to find a company that is highly rated with the Better Business Bureau as well as registered with the state.

Does a Debt Settlement Program Work?

After negotiating a settlement, a settlement agreement is sent.

Then, the settlement is either paid in a lump sum (if funds are available) or paid in monthly payments without any more interest.


Personalized  Program Comparison Click here!


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Tags: debt relief solutions, debt elimination without bankrupcy, debt settlement vs bankruptcy, debt settlement in oregon, alternatives to bankruptcy

Don't Be Afraid of Debt Collectors!

22853064975_8c547f714f_m.jpgReceiving a call or letter from a debt collector can be a scary experience. Here's what you need to know and what to do so that you don't have to be afraid:


  • Debt collectors (for the most part), are just trying to collect monies owed.  They are not "evil" or "our to get you".  If you follow my advice, you should be able to work with them to resolve your debt problem.
  • Having said that, some (yep, there's always a few) go too far in their debt collection efforts.  I'll show you how to handle this type of collector.
  • No matter how serious you financial and/or debt situation is, there is a solution.  DON'T BE AFRAID!
  • A debt collector can be from an attorney's office.  There are many lawyers that only practice debt collection.  You can work with them as well.
  • Regardless of what a debt collector says, you are not going to jail or have all of your belongings seized or confiscated!


You probably already know this, but let me briefly explain the debt collection process:

There are several reason why you find yourself barely able or unable to keep up with your debts.  (For the sake of this article, I'm only dealing with UNSECURED DEBT (credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, etc.) and not SECURED DEBTS (debts secured by the item itself (house, car, etc.)

Having been helping people deal with the stress, frustration and seemingly hopelessness of have too much debt, in about 99% of the time, something like this has cause the financial hardship:

  • Unemployment for a long time
  • Divorce or separation 
  • Trying to make ends meet on a fixed income after retirement
  • Long illness or disability
  • Death of spouse or partner

Using credit cards or credit in general may help in the short term, but when your situation doesn't improve or change over a long period of time, then you get to the point where is is very difficult or impossible to just make the minimum payments!


So when you start missing payments or don't make the required minimum payments due, the calls and letters start!

I'll show you how to put a stop to the calls later, but for now, it is very important that you realize what to DO AND NOT DO, when the original creditor calls or writes.

Unfortunately, the original creditor (Visa, Macy's, Home Depot, etc.) that issued the card or account, has the legal right to call you when you miss payments.  You can do one of two things:

  • Not answer the call (just let all calls go to a recording), or...
  • Answer the call.

While your account is still with the original creditor (and it will be for 3-4 months), you might want to answer at least one call to see "where you are at" with this creditor.

Here's what I mean:

Depending a various circumstances, once you've be delinquent on making payments for a couple of months or more, you may get an offer (usually in the form of a letter), with a reduced payment plan or even a reduced balance settlement that could work for you.  

Let's say that you've been unemployed for about 6 months, used up all (if any) of your savings, and have been using credit cards to make up for the lack of income for things like groceries, gas, or even a cash advance to keep the lights on!

But, GOOD NEWS, you've found a new job and the pay is pretty close to your last job.

One the one hand, this is great!  But, on the other hand, you are so far behind in paying your credit card debt, it looks like there is just "no way" you can catch up!

You really only have a few options:

  • A Debt Management Program
  • A Debt Settlement Program
  • Bankruptcy

Debt Management is a program offered by most creditors, whereby they agree to reduce and/or eliminate interest rates and fees until you get "caught up".  This used to be referred to a Credit Counseling Program.

If you qualify, you will have ONE PAYMENT that is pretty close the total of all the minimum payments that are currently required on all of you cards or accounts.

The problem is that with a Debt Management Program, that payment may be too high for you to be able to qualify.

If you would like to learn more about this and/or see if you qualify, click below:


Personalized  Program Comparison Click here!


If you do not qualify for a Debt Management Program, then you should consider a:

Debt Settlement Program

By now, most or your credit cards and other accounts most likely have been placed with a Debt Collection Agency.

Sometimes the accounts are even sold by the original creditor for "pennies-on-the-dollar" to companies.

Now, these collectors or "debt buyers" will start to contact you by phone and mail.

Whereas before, when your account was still with the original creditor, you could not stop calls, once the account is assigned or sold to a collector, you CAN PUT A STOP TO THESE CALLS! Here's how:


STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter


At this point in the collection process, most likely you will get or can negotiate a SETTLEMENT.

The debt collector who has the account (or the debt buyer) can offer to settle the outstanding debt for less than the full amount.

This can be done in a LUMP SUM or even in several, interest-free PAYMENTS.

Check out some actual settlements we have negotiated for our clients:



Once the account has been settled, not only will you be done with this debt, but your credit report/score will start to improve.  

It won't happen over night, but over a relatively short time (3-4 months after settlement), your scores will increase!


Finally, if you cannot qualify for a Debt Management or Debt Settlement Program, you may need to seek BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION from your creditors.

The law allows (in certain situations) for someone to basically "start over with a clean slate" through bankruptcy.

While I believe you should try to either take care of your debts through Debt Management or Settlement, if you just cannot do either, then seek the help of a Bankruptcy Attorney!

The attorney will offer you a FREE, Initial Consultation and he/she will explain your options.

As you can see, when dealing with the stressful situation of having too much debt and too little income, you don't have to fear the debt collection process.

But, you just can't "put your head in the sand" and ignore the problem.

There are answers and freedom waiting for you:

Personalized  Program Comparison Click here!


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Tags: dealing with debt collectors, alternatives to bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt Negotiation, Oregon debt collection

Why Can't You Include Student Loans in Bankruptcy?

why can't you inlcude student loans in bankruptcyIf you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you may be wondering: Does filing for bankruptcy get rid of my student loans?

Unfortunately, student loans are usually not discharged in the case of bankruptcy.  According to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy law the only time a student loan might be discharged is if it would cause the debtor “undue hardships”.  The same basic rule also applies to Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cases.  

Discharging student loans became popular during the 1970s, when students would file for bankruptcy soon after they finished their pricey education.  They would do so before they started earning so that they could get the loan out of the way.  However, the requirements for discharging student loans were changed in 1998.

According to these new changes, your student loan will only be discharged if the bankruptcy court is convinced that paying back the loan would bring about undue hardships for you or the people who are dependent on you. 

There are three things that would are used to determine whether a person is eligible to have their student loan discharged or not:

  1. Will repaying your student loans prevent you from maintaining a minimal standard of living?
  2. Will it be difficult for you to maintain your minimal standard of living over the repayment period?
  3. Did you make an effort to repay the loan before filing bankruptcy? Have you been repaying your loan for at least 5 years?

Even if you are unable to fully discharge your student loan debt by filing bankruptcy, there are many other options for dealing with student loans including deferments and forebearance.

Even though it is difficult, you should still discuss your student loans with your Bankruptcy attorney.  They know the law and can help you get the most benefit out of filing for bankruptcy.

If you are considering Bankruptcy, there are alternatives you should consider.  Our Debt Solutions Specialist can discuss your financial situation with you, and help you determine if Debt Settlement or Debt Consolidation would be a good solution for you! Give us a call at 1-877-492-4109 or click the link below.

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Tags: alternatives to bankruptcy, Debt Settlement Services, debt consolidation program, include student loans in bankruptcy

How does bankruptcy affect my credit score?

how does bankruptcy affect my credit scoreNO!! Stop!  Don't do it. . . .you'll regret it!  After filing for bankruptcy, you will be wailing like the witch from Wizard of Oz, "No. . .I'm melting. . .aaaaa!"

Although bankruptcy gives you a reprieve from your current bills, it will be on your credit report for 10 years.  Now, ask yourself this, would you rather have a ding--or rather a huge dent--dogging you for ten years or a small ding for two to three years by using Debt Consolidation or Debt Settlement programs?  Hold that thought while we take a trip into understanding a bankruptcy vs. debt consolidating and debt settlement programs and their affect on your score.

Bankruptcy And Your Credit Score:

In the latest report by the National Bankruptcy Research Center, there has been a slight decrease in bankruptcy filings as people are slowly pulling themselves out of the economy dump.  It also states that this year's first eight months have seen a 10% drop.  That is a start, but the national average shows that one out of 285 people are still filing to get the debt out from under them.  FICO has recently made available examples as to how many points a bankruptcy can actually have on your credit rating:

  • Ironically, those that have a very high score can have a significant drop, indicating not even a dent, but a train wreck--could be 240 points or more
  • Those who are already having problems with their debt may have just a dent--could be as low as 130 points

Even after filing, lenders require at least two years before applying for credit again.  They do this to give the person the time to begin rebuilding their credit.  Don't be a statistic.  Bankruptcy will only tell future lenders that you failed in meeting previous creditors' requirements.  There are better options. 

Debt Consolidation and Settlement Programs And Your Credit Score:

  • Debt Consolidation is a combining all of your debt into one lower monthly payment.  You will generally get a smaller monthly payment, lower interest rate, and few if any fees.
  • Debt Settlement Programs work with your creditors to settle the balance for less than owed. (Most of the time less than HALF of what you owe!)

Your score is affected, yes.  However, the score is far less affected than if you were to file bankruptcy, or do nothing.  Ten years is a long time to be haunted by bad credit.  In the two years it takes to apply for credit after filing bankruptcy, you can have your credit score back on track with Debt Consolidation and Debt Settlement programs.

For more information on your options, click on the link below or call 1-877-492-4109

how does bankruptcy affect my credit score

photo by: photosteve101

Tags: how does bankruptcy affect my credit score, debt settlement, debt consolidation, alternatives to bankruptcy

Can you file bankruptcy with student loans?

bankruptcy with student loansStudent loans are a necessary evil for most people.  In order to get a good education after High School, you apply for scholarships, grants, and any other sort of financial aid available. If you are very lucky, you have a college fund set up and ready to pay for that fancy education.  If you are not so lucky, you break down and take out a Student Loan.

Once you graduate, you are usually given a six month grace period to get a job and get on your feet.  After that, you've got to start paying off that debt. 

You should, of course, pay back the debt if you are able to do so. Student loan companies have hardship programs and payment rehabilitation programs available to you if you are struggling.  You can even file for deferment or forbearance to take a break from payments for a short amount of time.  If you have been faced with some unforeseen financial hardship, you may have to file bankruptcy to get you out of debt. But....

Can you file bankruptcy with student loans?

Student loans are difficult, but not impossible, to discharge in bankruptcy.  To do so, you must show that payment of the debt “will impose an undue hardship on you and your dependents.”

Courts use different tests to evaluate whether a particular borrower has shown an undue hardship. A common test is the Brunner test which requires a showing that:

  1. The debtor cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a “minimal” standard of living for the debtor and the debtor’s dependents if forced to repay the student loans
  2. Additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period of the student loans
  3. The debtor has made good faith efforts to repay the loans. (Brunner v. New York State Higher Educ. Servs. Corp., 831 F. 2d 395 (2d Cir. 1987).
If you can successfully prove undue hardship, your student loan will be completely canceled. Filing for bankruptcy also automatically protects you from collection actions on all of your debts, at least until the bankruptcy case is resolved or until the creditor gets permission from the court to start collecting again.

Assuming you can discharge your student loan debt by proving hardship, bankruptcy may be a good option for you. It is a good idea to first consult with a lawyer or other professional to understand other pros and cons associated with bankruptcy. For example, a bankruptcy can remain part of your credit history for ten years. There are costs associated with filing for bankruptcy as well as a number of procedural hurdles. There are also limits on how often you can file for bankruptcy.

Whether a student loan is discharged based on hardship is not automatically determined in the bankruptcy process. You must file a petition (called an adversary proceeding) to get a determination. 

If you already filed for bankruptcy, but did not request a determination of undue hardship, you may reopen your bankruptcy case at any time in order to file this proceeding. You should be able to do this without payment of an additional filing fee. 

Bankruptcy with student loans should ALWAYS be a last resort!

If you are struggling with your debt payments but you are not ready to throw in the towel and file bankruptcy, you can get help in other ways. 

Start by creating a budget for yourself.  Once you track your spending for a month, using this Free Budget Spreadsheet, you will be able to see where you can make changes. 

Next, explore other options to reduce your monthly payments.  If you have outstanding debt that is not part of your student loans, there are programs available to help you reduce your monthly payments and interest.  This can help you free up some money to put towards paying off those student loans!

For more information on programs available to you,

click the link  below!

Tags: alternatives to bankruptcy, budgeting, bankruptcy with student loans

Debt Settlement vs. Bankruptcy: Weighing the Options

debt settlement vs bankruptcyDebt Settlement vs. Bankruptcy?

Choosing between debt settlement and bankruptcy in while facing a huge pile of debt is a tough decision to make. It is important to understand that although both debt settlement and bankruptcy offer Debt Relief, they work very differently. In order to make an informed decision, you need to understand the difference.

The Proccess of Debt Settlement & Bankruptcy:

Debt settlement is a debt reduction program where the creditor accepts a reduced amount from the debtor, in order to settle the account in full. A great Debt Settlement Program can and will settle your debt for 50% or less of your total debt. Once you have completed the Debt Settlement Program, the creditor will report your account to the Credit Bureau as “settled” or “paid”.

Bankruptcy is a court based procedure, which is initiated by the debtor. Consumers are permitted to file personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of Title 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code.

During Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, the court sells off your non-exempt assets and uses the proceeds to pay your creditors. Remaining debts are discharged by the court and you are declared debt-free.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization of your existing debts. The court appointed trustee will set up a repayment plan to help you pay off your debts comfortably within 3-5 years.

Once your bankruptcy is complete, you are relieved of all debts and allowed to rebuild your finances. However, bankruptcy procedures are usually much more complicated compared to debt settlement.

How will Debt Settlement and Bankruptcy effect on your credit score?

Bankruptcy can hurt your credit score by 200-250 points. The total extent of the damage depends on the nature of the other negative remarks you have on your credit report. Bankruptcy remains on your credit report for 7-10 years, which will prevent you from getting credit in the future.

Debt settlement will lower your credit score at first, but as you keep making payments on time, your credit score increases.

So, which option is better?

Debt settlement is preferable to bankruptcy if you are able to make a reduced monthly payment. You should explore all possible debt relief options before you file for bankruptcy.

Debt settlement gives you the following benefits:

  • You pay less and get rid of your debts completely!
  • You will get out of debt much faster!
  • You avoid losing your home and car!
  • Debt settlement does not damage your credit score as badly as bankruptcy does!

Tags: debt relief programs, debt settlement vs bankruptcy, alternatives to bankruptcy

Your Debt Settlement Questions ANSWERED

debt settlement questions


Every day we get asked the same questions over and over again. Here are the answers to some of the questions we get asked most often. 



What is debt settlement?

Debt settlement (also called debt negotiation) is a process of negotiating with your creditors to pay off your credit cards and other unsecured debt (student loans, auto loans, and home mortgages are secured debts, and don’t qualify) for an amount less than you currently owe, often at a 40-60% savings.

Does debt settlement really work?

Yes it does. Debt settlement works best for people who cannot pay their bills, are behind in their payments, or are considering bankruptcy. It is not designed for consumers who have small amounts of debt or who can still make their payments. It is a more aggressive approach to getting out of debt, and is not right for everyone. But debt settlement is a proven method, that will eliminate your debt quickly and save you money.

How is it different from debt consolidation or credit counseling?

Debt consolidation or credit counseling is a more traditional debt reduction option, which lowers your interest rates, monthly payments, and fees, but does not directly reduce the amount you owe. However, debt consolidation can help you get out of debt faster by lowering your interest rates and helping you pay more each month towards the amount you owe, and pay less in interest.

Will debt settlement ruin my credit score?

A credit report lists your payment history and amount of debt, so debt settlement can lower your credit score. However, many people don’t realize that having a lot of debt also lowers your credit score. And with very high debt, many lenders won’t lend you money (which is one reason to have good credit in the first place) and you may not be able to afford to borrow more money (another reason to have good credit) anyway. So, when considering debt settlement, make sure to compare the benefits (getting out of debt faster & saving lots of money) against the against the drawbacks (lowering your credit score). Getting completely out of debt and getting your life back to normal is probably well worth it.

Can my credit be repaired after I am done with debt settlement?

Yes it can. Once you have elimiated your debt, your account balances will be at zero.  From there you can re-build your credit score by using credit and debt wisely from that point forward.  You also have the right to request than any information be removed from your credit report. All information must be verified correctly, or the credit bureaus must remove it from your credit report. By taking the time to make these requests to the credit bureaus, you should be able to get a few items removed and therefore increase your credit score fast. 

How do I know if a debt settlement company is legitimate and I won't get ripped off?

As with hiring any professional to do work with you, do your homework: ask lots of questions, make sure you feel knowledgeable and comfortable with the process, read the fine print, and check with the Better Business Bureau. Learn more about choosing an honest and reliable debt settlement company before you get started.

If you have more questions, please visit our FAQ page or give us a call 


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Tags: credit repair, alternatives to bankruptcy, Best Debt Settlement Companies, debt settlement questions

Do It Yourself Debt Settlement

Before you attempt DO IT YOURSELF DEBT SETTLEMENT, you may want to consider what's involved.

After many years of negotiating debts for our clients, I'd have to say for the average person trying to settle debts yourself is too it yourself debt settlement

That's not to say that you may not be able to do it yourself, but you need to understand how the process works and how the collection agents are professionally trained to get as much money out of you as possible.

For this discussion, let's talk about unsecured debts and mainly credit cards.

If you fail to make minimum payments on time, what happens?

1.  Your next statement will show an additional LATE FEE of say $35 added to the balance.  Now your minimum payment is last month's plus this month's plus the $35 late fee, and you can't afford it.

2.  You will now most likely get a DEMAND LETTER that says your account is now DELIENQUENT and demand 3 payments plus 2 late fees. Of course by now, you really cannot afford to pay.

3.  The PHONE CALLS START! Your account is transferred to the creditors internal RECOVERY DEPARTMENT or basically their collections department.

The caller may be nice or very demanding, depending on the company.

You can and should explain your circumstances, but they are usually not very sympathetic!

4. At this point (about 3-4 months delinquent) the creditor is not ready to accept a settlement for less than the entire amount including late fees and additional interest.

Oh, by-the-way, your interest rate has been increased.  There is small print on the back of the application you signed that basically states that if you fail to make payments on time, they can INCREASE YOUR INTEREST RATE.

Although the Credit Card Act of 2009 limited the UNIVERSAL DEFAULT method of increasing rates, creditors can still:

  • Increase rates
  • Charge late fees
  • Charge over-the-limit fees
  • Charge annual fees

5.  Just before the account is set to CHARGE OFF, you may get a letter from the creditor offering a settlement. 

The settlement offer may let you have 3 OPTIONS:

  1. Pay 65% of the amount due by the end of the month
  2. Pay 75% of the amount due over 6 months
  3. Pay 85% of the amount due over 12 months

You do the math! Not gonna happen!


This is where "Do it yourself debt settlement" gets hard.

By now, you have been getting phone calls several times a day and possibly even at work!

The creditors may even be calling your friends and family!

There are legal ways to stop the calls.   FREE INFORMATION

The account has now been CHARGED OFF and sent to a collection agency. 

Now you starting getting calls and letters from the COLLECTION AGENCY, even though you sent out letters to the original creditor!

If the collectin agency finds out that you have a job, they may decide to FILE A COMPLAINT in your local courthouse.

You will now receive a SUMMONS that states the situation and that you have 20 or 30 days to "answer" or "contest" that you owe the debt.  But, since you owe the debt, that would be a waste of time and money (yes, is costs to file an "answer").

If you call the collection agency or attorney for the creditor, you may be able to negotiate an agreement whereby they stop legal action and if you repay 100% of the debt plus attorney fees and court costs!

If not, they will set a court date and win a JUDGMENT by DEFAULT.

With the default judgment, they can apply for a WRIT OF GARNISHMENT that your employer has no choice but to honor.

In most states, the amount that a creditor can garnish is 25% of your net (after tax) income.

Let's say you earn $$3,000 per month and 30% is withheld for taxes, etc. That leaves $2,100 after-tax income.

At 25% of $2,100, they would deduct $525 each month until the entire debt is repaid!  COULD YOU SURVIVE ON $1,575?

Not hardly, so you would probably end up agreeing to a STIPULATED AGREEMENT that would let you repay the entire amount at maybe $200/month at a reduced interest rate (each state is different).

Can a Debt Settlement Company do any better?

In most cases, yes.  Do It Yourself Debt Settlement takes a lot of time and if you are not trained in dealing with collectors and attorneys, you may end up paying too much or possibly being forced into bankruptcy.

Why not explore your options by requesting a


Or Simply Give us a Call


photo by: Henrique Vincente

Tags: debt settlement, alternatives to bankruptcy, Credit Card Debt Negotiation, do it yourself debt settlement

7 things to AVOID before filing bankruptcy

Are you thinking you may have to file bankruptcy?  If so, here are 7 things to AVOID before filing bankruptcy:

1. Do not pay back money to friends or relatives. If you have borrowed money from family members or friends, now is not the time to pay them back. If you make any payments like this within one year prior to filing your petition, you must disclose those payments on your bankruptcy petition and to the trustee at your meeting of the creditors. The bankruptcy court considers these to be preferential, insider payments. That means, you are using money that could go to your other creditors to pay to people you know. It also means that the court can recover those payments from the person you paid. Imagine your mom getting a letter or call from your trustee saying she owes the court money.

2. Do not run up your charge cards. Some people think that if they are going to file for bankruptcy anyway, they may as well charge their Christmas presents or buy the new television they've been wanting. But, that is a really bad idea. Luxury goods over $550 are not dischargeable if purchased within 90 days of your filing date. Also, if you have recently run up your charge cards before you file, the credit card company is more likely to challenge your discharge. If they can convince the court that you incurred the charges knowing that you were going to file for bankruptcy, that is considered fraud and the charges are not dischargeable. You could also face dismissal of your bankruptcy and other penalties for fraud.

3. Do not take a cash advance. Similar to running up your credit cards, cash advances taken right before you file will not be dischargeable, and you will remain liable for repaying that debt.

4. Do not get a home equity loan. People often get a home equity loan to consolidate credit card or other unsecured debt. This is a horrible idea because you are now putting your home at risk. Unsecured debts can be discharged in bankruptcy, but if you want to keep your house, you will have to continue paying the home equity loan.

5. Do not cash out your retirement account. Many people tap into their retirement accounts to try to keep up with their bills, then end up filing for bankruptcy once that is gone. Retirement accounts can be protected in bankruptcy, so there is no need to use up those funds. You will also pay income tax and penalties on the amounts withdrawn. Finally, a retirement account distribution may affect your means test. Protect your future by saving your retirement for its intended purpose.

6. Do not transfer property. Now is a bad time to transfer assets such as cars, boats, real estate, etc. If you do not receive fair market value for the transfer, it could be considered a fraudulent transfer and the trustee will go after the person who received the property to get either the asset itself or the cash value of that asset.

7. Do not ignore your problems. When you are overwhelmed by debt, it is easy to procrastinate and try to ignore the problem. But, if you do that, you are more likely to end up having your wages garnished or bank account levied. The earlier you deal with the problem, the faster you will get relief.  Bankruptcy should be your last resort.  Before making the decision to file bankruptcy, you should consider Debt Consolidation and/or Debt Settlement.

Want to know more about how to avoid bankruptcy?  Our debt eliminations programs can help you get out of debt without bankruptcy.  Get a FREE Debt Analysis by clicking on the button below or feel free to give us a call at 877-492-4109 for a free, no obligation, analysis of your debts and financial situation!

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Tags: debt elimination without bankrupcy, alternatives to bankruptcy, avoid before filing bankruptcy

How to Stop Debt Collector Calls

Stop collection callsNeed help putting a stop to collection calls?  Try this:

Although it is OK and may be advisable to speak with the collector at least once, don't forget that these are trained professionals whose only job is to get money out of you!

Briefly explain your circumstances, but don't be surprised when they seem like they don't care...THEY DON'T!

Ask the collector for a mailing address or fax number.  You probably won't get it as they know you are going to mail or fax a written request for them to stop calling.

According to the FDCPA, once you have mailed or faxed such a letter, they collector may only contact you one more time or they are in violation of Federal laws from the FTC.

In the letter, simply state that at this time, financial circumstances beyond your control make it impossible to pay anything on this debt.

It is also a good idea to state that if things do not improve, you are going to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors.

Make a copy of the letter for your records and mail or fax. 

Although it will cost a little, it is better to send the letter by registered mail so that you have proof that it was received.

As long as your account is still with the original creditor (Visa, Master Card, Citi, etc.) it may take a few weeks for the creditor to process and as a result, you may still get calls.

The best advice is to ignore the calls. 

If you have caller ID (and if you don't, you need to get it), don't answer any calls from callers you don't know.

If you can turn your ringer off and let all calls go to voice mail, then you can screen your calls. DO NOT RETURN ANY CALLS TO A COLLCECTOR, REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY SAY!

If you would like more information on how to stop collector calls, request  the FREE GUIDE.

Stop collection calls 

Tags: fair debt collection practices act, federal trade commission, how to stop collection calls, alternatives to bankruptcy