- May 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm #205284AnonymousInactive
As everyone must have noticed, there are now hundreds–if not thousands–of debt settlement companies out to make even more money on people that are almost in a state of bankruptcy. They all seem to “claim” that they can reduce your debts by 50% or more without damaging your credit score. So if it’s that easy, does anyone know how to go about doing it yourself without paying someone?
- May 7, 2011 at 6:54 pm #265869Leanne MacleanParticipant
I, personally, think that debt settlement or a debt consolidation loan is not a great idea. If you have an income, this plan will work for you. Just follow the steps.
Please do not consolidate or use a debt reduction company . It is not free, they will lower your payments by increasing the length of time until you are debt free, and you will take a hit on your credit score. Or they negotiate your debt down after telling you not to pay for awhile adding another hit to your credit score. Student loans are the only debt that can garnish your wages for non payment without taking you to court first. Just list them out on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet and follow the plan. If you work the plan, the plan will work for you.
A. Have a garage sale and sell anything that you no longer need or want.
B.Get a temporary part time job, if you have one, get another.
Here is a plan that can help you. If you work the plan, the plan will work for you:
1. Make a budget. Make the budget a week before you get paid. A budget is not a punishment! It is a tool which will free you from ever having to worry about money again. Put everything in your budget. Especially those annual, biannual, or quarterly bills like car registration, insurance, etc. Give every dollar you are going to bring home the name of where it is going. Add an “emergency fund” category to your budget for 25 dollars and save up until you have 1000-1250 dollars. Your emergency fund will help keep you from getting into new debt because of an emergency. If you can, set up a direct transfer to a savings account for your emergency fund. That way it moves automatically and you don’t even have to worry about it. You must cut your spending and live on less than you make.
2.First get current on all of you debts and make no more late payments. Stop using your credit cards immediately. Do not take on any more debt. Credit cards are like quicksand only the death is much slower. Make a list of all of your debts in order of highest interest rate to lowest interest. Use cash only for your spending from now on.
3.Pay the minimum due on all of your debts and then put your extra money towards paying off the highest interest one first. After you get that one paid off, you put the money you were paying on debt #1 (the minimum payment and the extra payment) towards debt #2. That will pay debt #2 off faster. When that is paid off, you put all three payments towards card #3 and that one will be paid off pretty quickly. As an example:
To start :
Debt #1 (highest interest): minimum payment+ extra payment
Debt #2 (middle interest): minimum payment
Debt #3(lowest interest): minimum payment
Debt #1: paid off
Debt #2: minimum payment from Debt #1+ Minimum payment from Debt #2 +extra payment
Debt #3: minimum payment
Debt #1: paid off
Debt #2: paid off
Debt #3:Minimum payment from card #1+ minimum payment from Debt #2+ minimum payment from Debt #3+ extra payment.
That way, you will get them all paid off, on time, and pay the least interest. It will also help towards rebuilding your credit since you will no longer have any late payments. This works no matter how many different debts you may have.
4. After you get all of your debts paid off, add to your emergency fund until you have 6-12 months of income saved up. Put that emergency fund money into a liquid money market fund or into a Bank of America no-risk CD so that if you need the money you can take it out without penalty.
5a. When you have your emergency fund in place, add a category for “fun” to your budget. Save for a holiday, a vacation, a big screen, or dinners out, whatever goal you want. Remember to enjoy your life.
5b. When you have your emergency fund in place, start saving for your retirement. Join the 401(k) plan at work and contribute the maximum. Your employer probably matches at least part of your contribution so why give up free money? Open a Roth IRA and contribute the maximum on a monthly basis. If you start saving for your retirement now, you will probably retire a millionaire.
5c. When you have your emergency fund in place, start saving for your next car. Only buy cars, or other things that depreciate, with cash. Save up for a nicer car. That way you get the interest instead of paying the interest.
You can do it and it isn’t as hard as you think. Just follow the plan.
- May 8, 2011 at 6:17 am #266401Crystal4Participant
Yes you can reduce the amount paid by 50%, but it will damage your score. And yes you can do it yourself if you know you rights, follow some basic guidelines, and have some “balls” for lack of a better word.
First of all, make absolutely sure you have to go this route. If you can borrow from friends or relatives to get out of trouble, suck it up and do it. You do not want to go the Debt Settlement route unless you absolutely have to. It is much better then Bankruptcy but it will damage you score.
Second, most Creditors will not settle for less than the full amount until AFTER you have defaulted. What this means is that after you default, you will get tons of phone calls from the Creditors, especially if you have multiple accounts that you’re defaulating on. Do not discount the devastating psychological impact these calls will have on you! Each one is like a stab in the back and a reminder that you can’t pay your bills! Be prepared to get stressed out to the point of insanity! In general, you want to avoid talikng to anyone (thank God for caller ID!) and do everyting in writing.
After you’ve defaulted for 6 months or so, the Creditors will charge-off and they will either sell the debt to a Debt Collector or assign it to a Debt Collector to collect on their behalf. Either way, a Debt Collector will start calling you or send letters or both. Do not ignore the letters; in response, send a letter requesting Debt Validation within 30 days, it’s the smart thing to do even if you know the debt is yours (and it buys you time as well). There are plenty of resources in Yahoo Answers regarding what the Debt Validation letter shoud say.
Once the debt is properly validated, it’s time to start negotiating. If you have a financial or medical hardship, document it and use it in the neotiation. If you’re listing of Assetts & Liabilities clearly shows that you would have very little to give should you be sued, use that as well. Again, try to avoid doing this over the phone. In general, you can get lower settlemenmts for a debt that has been sold to a Debt Collecr versus one that hasn’t, but keep in mind the owner of any debt can demand the full amount at anytime. Once you agree on a settlelemtn, get it in writing before you pay a dime!
Regarding getting sued: be prepared, it can happen, especially if you ignore the letters from the Debt Collectors. I got sued three times last year but managed to stay out of court (we settled one account for 36% and agreed to a payment plan on the other two). I was with a Debt Settlement company at the time and in retrospect I probaly would not have gotten sued had I followed some of the basic guidelines summarized above (which, to my surprise, the Debt Settlement company never advised me to do).
Hang in there . . .Debt Settlemtn can be done on your own! Before I fired my Debt Settlement company I had already on my own settled two accounts without their involvment. I even got sued less than a week after I fired them but still managed t o negotiate a settlement.
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