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The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Debt Settlement
Do you belong to one of these categories:
You make your monthly payments each month and contribute a little more on top of your monthly minimums; thus paying off your debt regularly, only you have done the math and it will take you about 18 years.
You make your monthly payments each month but only the minimum payments and you do not advance on the capital; you feel that at any time, if something were to happen to you, for example if you lost your job, all your obligations would spiral out of control.
Your debt is crushing, but you think you’re in control of your debt by borrowing from family and friends, transferring balances whenever a low-interest offer is mailed to you, and depriving Pierre for pay Paul whenever you get the chance. You believe this is your answer to “managing” your debt.
You think bankruptcy is your only option. Please don’t do this! Bankruptcy should not be used until all options have been explored and exhausted.
If any of the above sounds like you, read on and this article might come in handy after all.
Credit card debt is scary; and with sluggish wages, a declining housing market, adjustable loans (ARMs) coming due, credit card companies jacking up interest rates as high as 30% and charging unnecessary fees – this is not It’s not a question of whether the bottom will fall, it’s a question of when. The good news is that although limited, there are options. The option you will learn about and presented in this manual is, in our opinion, the most effective and quickest way to get out of debt other than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy – this is called debt negotiation. debt or debt settlement.
What we are talking about here is simply barter. We’ve all done this before – whether it’s buying a vehicle, a house or a t-shirt in Cancun; the principal is the same. Except that we don’t negotiate the interest rate to a lower rate or the monthly service fee to a nominal price, we negotiate the entire balance of your credit card debt. The goal will be to reduce your debt to around 50%, maybe even less:
12.5 steps to get out of debt through settlement
Step 1: Understand your risks and the realities of overdue debt. Can you be sued? Yes. Can a creditor garnish your wages? Yes. The possibilities exist but the chances are low. The reality is that it’s simply too much time and too much expense on the part of the creditor to take action against you.
Step 2: Gather all your bills and calculate the total debt you want to settle.
Step 3: Know which debts are good candidates for settlement. Secured debts cannot be settled (home or auto); unsecured debt has nothing attached to the loan or debt and can be included.
Step 4: Know your creditor umbrellas. For example, if you want to include an MBNA credit card or an FIA credit card in your settlements, you should know that they belong to Bank of America. And if you have a Bank of America bank account, your money and savings could be affected. There is a clause in the contract when you opened your bank account called the right of set-off. To put it simply, Bank of America can access your account at any time and collect its funds, interest, or late fees. In this case, if you wanted to include these two credit cards, you would want to close or minimize your BOA account and start banking elsewhere.
Step 5: Remember that a creditor will only pay if you are past due on an account. If you continue to make minimum payments or a little more to reduce your debt, you have no leverage and the creditor has no reason to settle. Minimum payments = profits! (If you owe $30,000, you could end up paying off $102,000 just by paying only the minimum payments).
Step 6: Once you are delinquent and behind on your debts, prepare for a flurry of harassing phone calls and unpleasant letters to your home and work. Do you remember when you filled out your application and had to fill out several references? Please be aware that these references will also be contacted. Don’t give in and don’t panic. Keep a cool and balanced head. Unless you are a professional referee, do not talk to them on the phone, correspond by mail and be sure to keep all paper records.
Step 7: Find out if your account still belongs to the original creditor. You’ll have to do some leg work on this. Call your original creditor. If the account is still with them, they will start transacting with you. Otherwise, your account is with a collection agency and they may or may not refer you to it; more than likely, they won’t refer you to them and you’ll just have to wait for that collection company to call you.
Collection companies are companies that buy bad debts on pennies on the dollar for the debt they are trying to collect.
There are also law firms that present themselves as collection companies. Correspondence received from these companies can be very intimidating, but if they are – remember that 99% of the time they are just empty threats.
Step 8: Start haggling. Keep in mind that the collection company will take less money than they initially charge. Timing is also everything. Factors to consider: default on your debt, time of month, time of year, and most importantly, who the creditor is. Each creditor has his threshold as to how he can negotiate; and knowing these thresholds are essential.
Step 9: Once you and the creditor agree on a settlement offer, remember that they will want their money right away, usually within 48-72 hours. So if you have a $1,000 credit card and you trade it down to $600, make sure you have that $600 on you to pay it off immediately.
Step 10: Get your terms in writing before you pay. It is important! Never expect a creditor to make an agreement verbally. And even if it’s in writing, you’ll still have to fight to keep the creditor’s word.
Step 11: Negotiate your credit score with the creditor. Understand that as a settlement, your credit rating will be negatively affected. Make sure that once you’ve paid a settlement, the creditor reports it on your credit file.
Step 12: First the good news: you are debt free! The bad news is that your credit rating has taken a hit. Remember that time heals all wounds and will restore your credit rating. You can also seek the help of a credit repair company to speed up the credit rebuilding process and get you back on track.
Step 12 ½: It’s CELEBRATION TIME! If you drink, then low up. If you’re celebrating by going out to eat, treat yourself and your loved ones to a dinner of steak and lobster. Whatever your vice, you deserve a pat on the back! You just saved yourself years and years of pain and thousands and thousands of dollars of your hard earned money that would otherwise have been spent on ridiculous fees and interest.
At this point, you might be wondering why some people would choose to work with specialists like RAM Financial Services over doing it on their own. The simplest answer is to answer this question with another question: Why do people hire real estate agents to sell their homes? Why do most people depend on investment bankers to invest their money?
They are professionals. They do their job all day, every day, full time and have the working relationships to do the job effortlessly and to their fullest potential.
I wish you luck in all of your haggling endeavors and if you have any questions please feel free to contact us anytime.
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