Are you drowning in debt? You’re not alone. More and more people are facing the dilemma of consumer dept. Your debt could be the result of unemployment, a prolonged illness, or simply overspending. Regardless of the reason, debt can seem overwhelming.
In your efforts to climb out of your debt, watch out for advertisements that offer quick fixes. While the ads pitch the promos of debt relief, they rarely say relief may be spelled b-a-n-k-r-u-p-t-c-y.
Bankruptcy is ONE way you can deal with the problem, but I generally advise people that it is the option of last resort.
The reason for this is the long-term negative impact on your creditworthiness. Bot the date you file for bankruptcy and the date it is discharged stays on your credit report for 10 years. This can be a problem when you try to get credit, a job, insurance, or even a place to live.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautions consumers to read between the
lines when faced with ads in newspapers, magazines, or even telephone
directories that say:
“Consolidate your bills into one monthly payment without borrowing.”
“STOP credit harassment, foreclosures, repossessions, tax levies, and
garnishments.” “Keep Your Property.” “Wipe out your debts! Consolidate
your bills! How? By using the protection and assistance provided by
federal law. For once, let the law work for you!”
If you are having trouble paying your bills, consider these possibilities before considering filing for bankruptcy:
1. Talk with your creditors. They may be willing to work out a payment plan with you.
2. Contact a credit counseling service. They often work with you and your creditors to create debt repayment plans. These services require you to deposit money each month. Then they pay the creditors. Some nonprofit organizations chard little or nothing for their services.
If neither of these options are possible, bankruptcy may be the likely alternative.
For those who do not wish to file bankruptcy, and who have some funds available for creditors, our office offers an affordable and attractive alternative to bankruptcy. We will settle your unsecured debts (credit cards, medical bills, etc.) for significantly less than what you owe. On average, we are able to obtain settlement results in the range of 20-50% of the principal balance owed. If you have a cash lump sum available to settle your accounts, we can negotiate settlements quickly and successfully. There are also companies who will offer a lower monthly payment option to our clients who do not have funds readily available.
For those clients who do not have the cash flow to meet the demands of their current credit card and other unsecured debts, we refer you to an outside source such as Money Management International, whose website is www.moneymanagement.org. They are able to renegotiate monthly payments on credit cards and other unsecured debts, and reduce the loan interest rates, making payments affordable.