Debt | The Worst 4 Letter Word
There are a number of options and strategies you can use to assist in getting out of debt. The top five most common ways include debt consolidation, debt management, debt settlement, bankruptcy and using do-it-yourself techniques. Each of these options has their pros and cons and it’s up to you and your personal situation to employ whatever strategy makes the most sense. Let’s get started!
Debt consolidation means that you take out a new loan in order to use that money to pay off all of your current debt, leaving you with only one monthly payment. The most significant benefit from debt consolidation is that you do not have to deal with your creditors individually. There is no negotiating, and it can allow you to get a smaller interest rate on the money you owe. It is important that you find a lender that you trust and that is going to give you a payment plan that works for you.
Debt consolidation can improve or further hurt your depending on several different factors including if you made all payments on time. This can improve your credit if you’re diligent about making payments. It can have the adverse effect if you miss payments. Proceed with caution.
Debt management is a program, typically set up by a debt counselor, that will help you negotiate a new payment plan with the creditors you already owe. The debt counselor will review your finances and tailor a personalized plan for paying off your debt, while still allowing you some budget for day-to-day life. They are in charge of communicating with the creditors to help you get a lower payment, as well as a lower interest rate.
Debt management is great if you are having a hard time making your monthly payments and are looking for reductions. The key point is you have to make sure you stick with the plan. You need to keep track of all of the payments made and ensure they are paid on time. Lapsing on this can put your plan as well as your financial future at risk.
Debt settlement is when you tell your creditors that you cannot pay them the full amount that you owe them, but that you can pay a portion of the amount owed, if they are willing to cancel the debt. This option is a bit more drastic than the previous two options. You can attempt to negotiate on your own with your creditors, but there are debt settlement companies who can do it for you and they are more likely to get a lower payment because they have the experience needed to do so.
When you go to a debt settlement company, they are going to need to know all of your financial information, including what resources you have that you can use to pay off the debt. Once you have signed all of the paperwork necessary, you will stop making payments to your creditors and start making the payments to the debt settlement company. This money will be placed in escrow until you have enough to make a settlement offer to one of the companies.
Accumulating this money in an account can take several months, but once it’s there, the company will begin contacting your debtors and making offers. This will be reflected on your credit report as settlements, and they can lower your credit score so you need to take that into consideration before using debt settlement to get out of debt.
Bankruptcy basically means that you cannot pay the debt that you owe. Most of us have heard of bankruptcy at some point, but what you may not know is that there are two types of bankruptcy; chapter 7 and chapter 13. Chapter 7 means that all of your assets are liquidated in order to pay back your creditors. Most people believe that they lose everything if they file chapter 7 bankruptcy, but that is not true and the majority of people are allowed to keep their homes, property and vehicle. It will, however depend on what is covered by the exemption law in your state.