Debt Settlement Kept Us Out of Bankruptcy!



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".


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 shock, thinking...


            "What was I going to do?"



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!





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!





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!"



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!




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.




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!


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:

Personalized  Program Comparison Click here!



 Photo Credit



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

What Should You Expect From a Debt Settlement Program?

Trying to decide if you should enroll in a Debt Settlement Program?


Debt Settlement is an option that few people know about.

Did you know that given the right circumstances, most lenders will eventually accept an  amount that much less than the full amount to clear an old account from their books!

I'm talking about unsecured debts like:

  • credit cards
  • personal bank loans
  • medical bills
  • store cards
  • "pay-day" type loans
  • and others

Now, although I've been helping people settle debts such as these for many years, and know that it can really help, not everyone should enroll in a debt settlement program.


Let say you find yourself with $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 or more of unsecured debts and although you are making the minimum payments each month, you are just not seeing the balances reduced due to high interest rates and fees, a DEBT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM may be (notice..."may be") what you need.

You can check out my link above for full details of how a Debt Management Program works, but basically{

  • Each of your creditors agrees to lower the interest rate and in many cases stop or forgive late or over the limit fees.
  • You will make one payment that is about the same (and sometimes a little more) to the company and they will pay each of your creditors according to the agreements.
  • This type of program usually take about 48 months and according to the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), being enrolled in a debt management program is NOT a factor in determining your credit score.

But, what if you have a considerable amount of unsecured debt and are just not able to keep up with the minimum payments and cannot afford the required payment of a Debt Management Program?

Many people will seek the help of a bankruptcy attorney, but that is not always the best option.  Yes, bankruptcy is a viable option, but in my opinion, should only be used when you have exhausted every other option!


So, how does a Debt Settlement Program work?


Instead of making any payments to your creditors, you will set aside an amount of money (your budget will allow) into a Settlement Account with an FDIC insured bank.

Of course, since you are not making monthly payments to your original creditors, they will eventually be turned over to a debt collection company.

Negotiations will begin and a settlement agreement will be arranged.  This agreement MUST be in writing and no payments should or will be made without it!

Most debt collectors will be open to a settlement.


So, what should you look for in a Debt Settlement Company?

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Are they registered?
  • A+ rateing and accredited with the Better Business Bureau?
  • Does this company have a lot of complaints?  If so, BEWARE!
  • Does the agent really listen, ask a lot of questions to determine what type of help you really need?  Or, does it seem like you are trying to be pressured into signing up right away?
  • Oh, and by-the-way, the counsultations should all be FREE!
  • Are there referrals or testimonials from formet clients?
  • What about seeing some actural settlements



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!

Debt Elimination Summary



Photo Credit





Tags: debt settlement, Bankruptcy, credit card, Best Debt Settlement Companies, BBB

Debt Settlement...How Does it Work?

Given the right circumstances, a Debt Settlement Program is an option that can give you freedom from debt!  

Here's how a debt settlement program works:


Let's face it, credit and credit cards are something most people deal with every day.   

You know how that can go....

You get an offer for a credit card with 0% and fees (for 6 to 12 months at least).  All you have to do is fill out the form and submit.  


At first, you use the card to buy some items that may be just a little bit too expensive for you you right now, but, with a minimum payment of only $50 or so,why not?

But, you get another offer (or two, or three, or four...) and you figure:

"I can afford a $200 or so each month...Why not?"

I actually took this picture...kinda says it all:


Sure, you can afford the total minimum payments due each month of about $200.

But what happens if one of the following happens (as has done with most of my clients):

  • Loss of Employment
  • Divorce
  • Major injury or illness
  • Total Disability
  • Death of Spouse or Partner
  • Too little fixed income after retirement!

Just to name a few!

Pretty soon, you just can't keep up with all the payments due (beside the mortgage or rent, utilities, groceries, etc.)


When your cannot keep up with the minimum payments, it doesn't take long to realize that you are in trouble!!!  

A lot of people start taking cash advances from one card to make the payments on the others.  This is just putting off the inevitable!

You may be able to take out a second mortgage, but this has dangers as well.  Be very careful here!

Please don't be fooled into getting one of the "PayDay Loans"

These "lender traps" may end up costing you very high interest rates (I've seen them as high as 85%), making it almost impossible to ever repay!

A Debt Settlement Program may be the answer. 

Here's the basics:

If you haven't stopped making of payments to your creditors, rather than continue this process, you will start making a payment (really a deposit) to an account set up for you at an FDIC bank.

Two things will happen:

  • Your account will start to grow, which will allow for negotiations (more later).
  • The creditors and debt collectors will be calling and sending letters.

Yes, your "original" creditor (Visa, Citibank, Home Depot,etc.) can legally call you about your account.  You gave permission (all the fine print) when you signed up.

But, once your accounts are transferred to a debt collector (usually 3-4 months), you can put a stop to the calls.  This will help:

STOP Collection Calls Free Sample Letter

You will also be getting letters from your creditors or debt collectors.

They may offer some kind of "hardship plan" to help you get caught up, but most of these are just a trick to get you to keep paying, and paying, and paying!

Debt Collection companies (and sometimes the original creditor) are usually willing to accept a SETTLEMENT for less than the balance due.

Why would they do that?

The original creditor may just want to clear up old debts and charge off your account as a loss to their over-all profit/loss for tax purposes.

They have figured in how much "loss or breakage" they can accept and still be profitable!

They may have ASSIGNED your account to a debt collector who will get paid a percentage from what they are able to collect from you.

The original creditor may also charge off your account and SELL the account to a debt collector who is also a DEBT BUYER.

There are millions (possibly Billions) of dollars of "debt" bought and sold for literally "pennies-on-the-dollar".

Whether you account was assigned or sold to a debt collector, you can see that they may be open to a settlement. 


You have a Citibank Card with a balance of $10,000.

It was sold to XYZ Debt Collection Services for $500...that's right..."pennies-the-dollar"!

Do you think they might be open to a settlement of say...$3,000 - $5,000? 

Sure, check this out:

As time goes by, one-by-one, your accounts are settled and your Credit Report shows a $0 balance!

Does this happen over-night?  

Of course not!  Depending on how much debt you have and your particular financial situation, a Debt Settlement Program may take 4 or 5 years to help you finally become...


But, doesn't that sound great?

A Debt Settlement Program is not the answer for everyone, but may be just what you need!  It's easy to find out:

Personalized  Program Comparison Click here!



Photo Credit


Tags: debt collector, credit report and credit score, Best Debt Settlement Companies, credit cards, mimimum payments

How Oregonians Can Find Debt Relief

how-oregonians-can-find-debt-reliefIf you live in Oregon, I've got some good news on how you can find debt relief!

If you are fighting each month to just barely get by, you are not alone.  Statistics abound about how the average family has several credit cards and several thousands of dollars of debt.

What can you do about it?

Face the problem, honestly!

When is the last time you sat down and completed and honest, up-to-date HOUSEHOLD BUDGET?

If you are having a difficult time with too much credit debt, then the natural tendency is to avoid or ignore the facts, but you can't get out of debt without know exactly where you stand financially. Once you know exactly what you have coming in and exactly what you are spending your money on each month, we can devise a plan.



In a Debt Management Program, you will be making ONE PAYMENT to a Debt Management Company or what some people call a Credit Counseling Company.

This company will in turn have contacted each of your creditors to arrange a repayment plan.

Most Debt Management Programs take about 48 months to complete. 

Once you have competed the program, you will not only have saved a substantial amount of money in reduced interest and fees, but your credit report will reflect that you have $0 balances and your credit score will start to improve.

The problem with most Debt Management Programs is that depending on the amount of debt you owe and your left over or net, disposable income each month, you may not qualify.


Let's say you have $25,000 of various credit card debt.  At 2% of the $25,000 you owe on all of your cards, your minimum payment was $500.

Because the credit card industry figured out that they will make much more money in the long run if they make the minimum payment so small that that most people will take 10 -15 years or more to finally repay the debt.

And, the most tragic thing is that if and when you finally do pay all of the credit card debt, you will have paid 3 - 4 times more than you originally borrowed!

But in a Debt Management Program, you most likely will need to pay about 2.5% of the total, or in this case of $25,000 total credit card debt, $625 monthly!

But don't panic!  There's another option:

Debt Settlement

In a Debt Settlement Program, your payment or actually, your deposit to a bank insured reserve account is based on several factors:

  • The type of income you are receiving
  • The amount you have left over at the end of the month
  • Your health
  • Your retiement status

In a Debt Settlement Program, your creditors will not be receiving normal, monthly minimum payments as before.

Most people who have so much debt that they cannot keep up have fallen behind already or have had some accounts turned over to debt collectors anyway.

A professional Debt Settlement Company will negotiate a reduced balance (usually around 50% and sometimes less) with the creditor or debt collector.

Once the debt has been settled (by lump sum payment or over series of payments), the debt collector will report the debt to have been "settled-as-agreed" to each of the Credit Reporting Agencies.

For more information about Debt Settlement, click below:


But what if you do not qualify for Debt Management or Debt Settlement?

If that is the case, then you may need to seek BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION from your creditors.

Bankruptcy is a viable option to finally get out of debt.  Bankruptcy should be viewed as the last option (in my opinion) and not just a "get out of jail card" so to speak.

You will need to sit down with a BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY in your area to discuss your situation and your options.

Depending on your specific financial circumstances, you will most likely be placed in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  The bankruptcy attorney will explain the differences.

We have been helping Oregonians become DEBT FREE for over 10 years.  Don't let fear of the unknown keep you in contast turmoil over too much debt.

You have options for debt relief, and we can help!










Tags: credit card debt, Bankruptcy, debt settlement in oregon, credit card, debt management, Best Debt Settlement Companies, chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 13 bankrutpcy, credit card debt relief oregon

Characteristics of the Best Debt Settlement Companies

 best debt settlement companyWhen you are searching the BEST DEBT SETTLEMENT COMPANIES, here are 3 questions to keep in mind -->

#1 Do they have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau?

  • Look for companies that have a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of B+ or higher.  It takes a lot of work for a company to receive and maintain a high rating with the BBB.
  • Watch out for complaints and DO NOT DEAL with a Debt Settlement company that has a long list of complaints!
  • Don't worry about accreditation. The BBB is a network of private companies that make money rating companies. They offer an "accreditation" to companies for a large annual fee in order to make more money.  whether or not a company is accredited is not the issue.

#2 Can you call the Debt Settlement company and talk to someone? 

When you call in to a good Debt Settlement Company, you should be able to talk to a live person that will listen to you and work with you to find the best solution possible. 

  • Can you understand them?
  • Do they make you feel comfortable
  • Are they listening to you or are they just trying to talk you into what they are offering?

A quality company seeks to find the right solution for your specific needs and debt settlement is not always the best fit!

#3  Does the Debt Settlement company's website give you plenty of information that without forcing you to "complete the form"?

Quality Debt Settlement Companies will provide a lot of information...FOR FREE, without enrolling in their program. Look for a company website that is informative, educational, and easy to understand.  You should be able to know what the company is about and what they have to offer before you give out your contact information.

Want to know if Debt Settlement is the best option for you?  Click on the link below or call


to talk to one of our Debt Solutions Specialists.



Tags: Debt Settlement Services, Best Debt Settlement Companies, BBB

Debt Relief Options: Why Debt Settlement may be your best choice

debt relief optionsDebt has the power to overwhelm your life. When the bills start mounting and the collectors start calling, you may feel powerless, disheartened and as though you're in a sinking ship without a life boat. But we at Debt Relief NW, Inc. want you to know there is help out there so you're not left drowning in your debt.

There are several debt relief options available to you when the bills become overwhelming. For many, Debt Settlement is the best choice to get out from under debt, pay off loans and credit cards and come out whole on the other side.

Here's how debt settlement works

When you choose Debt Settlement, Debt Relief NW, Inc. assigns you a personal Debt Solution Specialist to go over your options, work with you to create a budget and establish a monthly payment that fits into that budget. 

Next, you will be assigned a personal Debt Negotiator who will use the funds available from your monthly payments to settle your debts for about half of what you owe. You save thousands on both the balance and the interest and can pay off your debt in two to three years.

Debt Settlement has the power to stop your financial ship from going down entirely.  Debt Relief NW, Inc. has built a reputation for quality debt management solutions and we have maintained an A+ ranking with the Better Business Bureau. When we say we can help you through debt settlement, we mean it.

You don't have to face the storm on your own. Debt Settlement can bring you in to a safe harbor and get you back on track.

debt relief options


Guest Blogger: Andrea from Portland, OR

photo by: foxypar4

Tags: debt relief options, debt settlement, Best Debt Settlement Companies

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 


debt settlement questions


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

Characteristics of the Best Debt Settlement Companies


best debt settlement companies

Looking for a reputable Debt Settlement Company?

Here are 5 Characteristics you need to look for:





Years ago, there was a lot of so-called Debt Settlement Companies that started.  They offered big promises, but delivered poor results.

Most of them were nothing more than "get-rich-quick" or "fly-by-night" outfits that took advantage of many people.  The Attorneys General's office of most states were flooded with complaints and took action, levying severe fines against many causing them to shut down.

If you find a company that hasn't been around for more than 5 should keep looking!


This is easy to find out, just goggle your state's attorney general or the consumer protection division of your state.

You will be able to find a list of registered Debt Settlement Companies for states that require registration, and you will find complaints and or fines that have been levied against fraudulent companies.


About a year ago, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) lowered all Debt Settlement or Debt Management Companies rating due to all of the fraud and legal action that had been taken by the states and federal government.

You may not know this, but the BBB is an independent business entity and NOT associated with he government or credit bureaus in any way.

Some Debt Settlement Companies are "accredited" and other opt not to seek the BBB's accreditation.  Accreditation means the Debt Settlement Company has paid a large fee (and continuing annual fees) to have this "tag".

The real test of a companies rating is the complaints and resolution of those complaints that the BBB records.

Be aware of companies with too many complaints...something is wrong!

To see our BBB rating and report, CLICK HERE.


There's nothing wrong with a company trying to make money helping people solve their debt problems, but BE AWARE of a company or representative who is too agressive!

In order to do a professional, thorough job, they need to take the time and have the patience to find out all about you and your paticular circumstances.

A professional, reputable debt settlement company wants to explore several options, such as:

  • Debt Management (formerly called Credit Counseling)
  • Debt Consolidation through a personal or equity loan
  • Debt Settlement
  • And yes, possibly Bankruptcy

A few outstanding companies offer more programs or services than just Debt Settlement or Debt Management.

You might think twice if a company who only offers Debt Settlement speaks negative about Debt Management Programs and vice-versa!


If you get a bad feeling about the rep, KEEP LOOKING!

Professionally trained and experienced Debt Settlement Representatives are PATIENT AND ASK A LOT OF GOOD QUESTIONS.

The company does not have to be local to be one of the best, but on the other hand, if you feel they have out-sourced their services to an overseas company, I'd be a skeptical.

If you call back, will you be speaking with the same rep?

Bottom need to have a good feeling about the rep and company or keep looking!

If you would like more information and a FREE annalysis of your debt, Give Us A CAll --->>> 1-877-492-4109

Or Click on the link below

best debt settlement companies

Tags: debt settlement, Best Debt Settlement Companies, BBB, help with credit card debt