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Debt Problems - How can you solve it the best way?

Often you experience certain situations when you can’t decide how to get out of your debt problem. You may be aware of some debt relief options but you can't select which can be the best in your particular situation.

Here are a few scenarios and solutions to deal with your debt problems the best way.

Warning Signs

  • Not paying credit card bills in full
  • Huge outstanding balance

Scenario 1

I have used my credit cards for making every purchase. I allowed my credit card bills to stack up because I couldn't repay them. I somehow managed to make the minimum monthly payments. Not paying credit card bills every month has resulted in a huge outstanding balance and I’m having difficulty repaying them. However, I have a stable job and can manage to pay back debts.

It seems that you have no budget or spending plan in place. It is good that you have a stable income; all you need to do is plan a realistic budget following which you can save a certain amount every month. You can use this amount to become debt-free.

In this situation, opting for credit card debt consolidation can be the most viable option for you. If you prefer to get professional help to solve your debt problems, you can enroll in a consolidation program. All you have to do is pay a mutually agreed upon payment to the company, every month, which in turn, will take care of other things, and you'll get out of debt within a definite time.

Paying a single monthly amount towards your multiple debts can be easier for you to repay outstanding balances on your credit cards. Also, by choosing consolidation, you’ll repay the debts at a lower interest rate than what you’ve been paying on your cards, on an average.

It will also help to improve your score after you repay debts in full.

Warning Signs

  • No stable income, faced pay cuts
  • Getting collection calls
  • Huge outstanding balance

Scenario 2

I do not have a stable income and have faced pay cuts in my job. I am having a feeling of hopelessness that I’ll never get out of debt. I have 4 credit card bills to pay off along with a personal loan, amounting to about $62,000 in total. I am receiving collection calls as well. Is bankruptcy the only solution for me?

Without a definite income every month, it might be difficult for you to pay back your outstanding dues. In such a situation, your financial situation may not permit you to repay the debts in full, so consolidation won't be a great help for you. Instead, opting for debt settlement may be the most suitable option for you.

You can get help from a settlement company to get rid of your debts by paying less than what you owe.

You just have to make one payment to the settlement company towards becoming debt-free. Most likely the debt collectors will also stop troubling you when the settlement company will start negotiating with them on your behalf.

You can avoid filing bankruptcy if you can make the required payments every month.

However, if you can’t save a certain amount after meeting your necessities, then bankruptcy can help you to get rid of your problem with debts, and help you make a fresh start. Then, you will have to take the help of a lawyer and file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Warning Signs

  • Charge-off on credit report
  • Overspending

Scenario 3

Recently I checked my credit report and found a charge-off listed in my credit report against a credit card. I was having difficulty paying certain bills on time about 6 months back. I agree I was spending more. However, somehow I managed to settle some of my cards but could not repay the balance on this credit card. The bank also hasn't called for the payment in recent times. Now, what to do! Will the charge-off stay in the credit report or is there any way to remove it?

Spending more than your income allows will often lead you to face problems with debt. Not paying credit cards in full each month also leads to face debt problems. Good that you have understood your mistakes and tried to settle your credit cards.

A charge off marked against your credit card means that the bank has written that as a bad debt. It will be there in your credit report for 7 years. It is not possible to remove it before that. The worst thing is it will continue affecting our credit score negatively; that is, it can reduce your credit score. The recent the negative listing, the more the bad effect on your credit score.

So, what can you do in such a situation?

A charged off account that has been paid back or settled is better than a charged off account with a past-due balance. Moreover, your creditor or a debt collection agency can still contact you to collect even a charged off debt and sue you if the SOL (Statute of Limitations) period is not over yet. And, paying back the debt might not help you increase your score much.

Now, it’s up to you what you want to do. You can at least settle the balance of your credit card. Paying back the credit card can give a positive message to your future creditors that even after being charged off, you tried to repay the debt balance.

As I said a charge-off usually stays on the credit report for 7 years. It can stay even more. If it stays even after 7 years, contact your creditor and credit bureaus, dispute it, and get it removed from your credit reports.

Another way to remove the charge-off is to negotiate with your creditor that you’ll repay the due balance and the creditor will remove it from your credit report.

Also, manage your finances well and add positive items on your credit report. It will help you increase your credit score gradually.

Warning Signs

  • Financial hardship
  • Delinquent on consolidation (personal) loan

Scenario 4

I have tried to repay debts on my own. I took out a personal loan and paid back 2 of my credit cards 2 years back. I was paying the required amount every month. However, due to some financial hardship, I started facing difficulty in paying utility bills and credit cards (about $8,000) on time, and I became delinquent on that loan a couple of months back. I am losing sleep worrying about debts. What can I do now?

It is quite a good attempt that you had tried to repay debts on your own. Since you’re not able to manage debts on your own, it is better to seek professional help if you want to. Though you’ll have to pay a fee for the professional services, yet you can get complete guidance to repay your debts systematically. And, you can sleep peacefully at night.

At first, you approach a reliable debt relief company. They will assess your financial scenario and decide whether consolidation or settlement will be a suitable option for you.

Now, there are a few options for you. If you want, you can consolidate your utility bills and personal loan with the help of a consolidation program. Since your credit balance is not that much, you can opt for balance transfer if you have a card with a very low-interest rate and sufficient credit limit.

You can also take out a zero interest rate balance transfer card for the purpose. However, such cards come with a limited period of the zero or very low-interest rate offer. So, it will be helpful for you if you can repay the balance within that period. Do not charge your credit cards for the time being.

When you talk to a credit counselor of the debt relief organization, they can assess your finances and let you know an amount that you’ll have to pay to them every month to repay your loan and utility bills within a definite time. So, you’ll have to save that amount along with paying back your transferred balance comfortably.

If you think that you need complete professional help, then you can consolidate or settle all your unsecured loans by enrolling a debt relief program and become completely debt free.

Warning Signs

  • Wage garnishment
  • Delinquent on some accounts
  • Minimum payment on credit cards

Scenario 5

My wages are being garnished to repay a debt. I want to stop it if possible. I was delinquent in some of my accounts but now I have managed to be current on my bills. I pay at least the minimum amount on my credit cards.

First of all, know that not paying credit cards in full each month is one of the debt warning signs that indicate you have a problem. Your outstanding balance will continue to grow. So, first of all, swipe your cards for an amount that you can comfortably pay at every billing cycle.

If your wages are being garnished, that means, you already have experienced debt problems.

You can approach a settlement company and they might help you out by negotiating with your creditor and trying to settle the debt less than the court-approved amount. Your creditor might agree if you can repay the amount at once. If your creditor agrees and you pay the settled amount, your wage garnishment can stop.

After that, pay your credit card bills on time and manage your accounts efficiently.

This is for you to know that while choosing an option, you must be aware that consolidation may help in improving your credit score as you're paying back debts in full. On the other hand, settlement can reduce your score to some extent since you're not paying your debts in full. You also have to pay a tax on the forgiven debt amount when you opt for settlement. However, debt settlement is a suitable option when your financial situation doesn't permit you to repay debts in full, and also you can get out of debt fast. So, if required, take professional help to select which option can be the most suitable one for you.