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Things to keep in mind about debt settlement
Controlling the amount of debt that you have can be quite challenging. This is why you should seek help the moment you see things spiralling out of control. For example, if your income is too low to keep up the monthly payments, or if you are borrowing from one source to pay off another source, then that is the time to go to a company offering professional debt settlement services. There are many ways in which you can control your debt, including debt consolidation, credit counselling, and bankruptcy as well as debt settlement.
Consider your options first
One of the ways is debt consolidation where all your debts are consolidated into one structured package and you end up paying a single monthly payment. Credit counselling involves having a professional try and reduce your interest rates through a deal with your creditors. Then there’s always bankruptcy, a complete clean slate. Debt settlement is the option where your creditors agree to write off a major part of the debt amount to as much as half and you pay off the rest either in a lump sum or through flexible monthly payments. The negotiations are usually best done through debt settlement professionals.
Contact your creditors early
If you have finally decided that you are going in for a debt settlement, then contact your creditors before all your accounts become defaulted or delinquent. A delinquent account is one where the monthly payments have not been made for more than six months. After that the creditor writes off the account and sends it to a collections agency that will start harassing you to pay them back. Creditors are usually willing to negotiate for a debt settlement if you contact them before defaulting because they want to avoid as much loss as possible. A debt management program can also be structured..
Consider the consequences
Debt settlement comes for a catch and you should only go in for it with your eyes wide open. Even if professional debt settlement services can get you debt relief, the amount (if it’s more than $600) written off will be added to your taxable income. It doesn’t just vanish into thin air. So for example, if your original loan amount was $10,000 and your creditors reduce it to $5000, the remaining $5000 gets added to your taxable income. Also, your credit report takes a huge hit for the next seven years or so. It is mentioned on your report that the account was settled for less than the original amount which was owed. So debt settlement is a good option keeping in mind that you are not planning on shopping for a loan in the near future.
Get your financial documents ready
Before agreeing to write off a huge amount of your debt, your creditors will want concrete proof of your inability to pay. They will ask for your income, assets and all your debts. You will have to show them all the documentation so that they are convinced that you are just not trying to get out of a sticky situation by pretending to be hard up for cash.
Don’t make unrealistic commitments
When your creditors offer you a settlement, don’t take something which is too high. Take a package where you can realistically pay off the monthly payments without falling into rough waters again. Don’t promise too big an amount without considering your situation first. If you do default on your debt settlement, the account will straightaway turned to a collections agency that will then constantly harass you.
About Madeline Bennett
Joan has been a credit counsellor for the past six years. She has helped countless families with professional debt settlement services. She lives with her husband and two sons and on weekends, she loves to go on camping with them.