Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How Getting Out of Debt Is Both Easier and Harder than Ever

The average American household has over $90,000 in total debt. If you are living with debt, you know what an uphill battle it can be to get out. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions and tools out there to help you along the way. 

However, scam artists also recognize the desperation of indebted consumers and are targeting individuals trying to settle their debts.

The FTC Shuts Down Several Scam Operations in Florida

Recently, the attorney general of Florida and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) closed down numerous scam operations that were ripping off consumers. The eleven enterprises were controlled by three individuals. 

They were persuading people in debt to sign up for a program that would relieve them of thousands of dollars of credit card debt. To take part in the program, these consumers were told to send monthly payments to the debt companies, who would then make a deal with the credit card companies.

As you may have guessed, the debt settlement companies were not putting the payments toward the credit card debt. And, their scheme is not unique to Florida. This is common in just about every state. Thankfully, there are many other tools at your disposal that do not involve scams. Here are a few tips:

Work with an Authentic Debt Consolidation Agency

There are many reputable and legitimate debt settlement companies in existence that help consumers to find relief from debt without resorting to bankrupty. Many offer free consultations to help you decide if this approach is the most beneficial for your circumstances. 

With assistance, you will have a plan that allows you to work on reducing the debt, which makes it less overwhelming and provides peace of mind. 

Speak to Your Credit Card Company

Credit card companies want to work with you to help you pay off your debt, rather than selling your debt for pennies on the dollar to collection agencies. Often times, they will let you temporarily reduce your payments.

Talk to a Counselor

Your bank or credit union will be able to direct you to a credit counselor, or you can find a non-profit credit counselor through the National Association of Credit Counselors.

Try Settling

Do you have a collection agency hounding you for payment of your debt? We recommend saving up as much as you can, and each time they call, offer to settle for however much money you happen to have saved.

Collection agencies will often settle for as little as half of the total amount you owe. If they’re willing to settle, never give them access to your checking account. Instead, first get their agreement to settle in writing, then get a cashier’s check for the total amount. Afterwards, insist on a written document stating that the debt is settled.

Use the Power of the Latest Apps to Get out of Debt

The prevalence of massive consumer debt has naturally attracted the attention of tech firms. They have come to the rescue with a number of easy-to-use applications such as the Debt Manager app. 

It orders your debts from smallest to largest (or highest interest rate to lowest if you prefer). It also calculates how much total interest you will pay using a variety of repayment methods.

If free is more your speed, then you should consider the Debt Eliminator app. First, you enter your credit card debts, minimum payments, and APR. It then asks how much extra you can pay and advises you to pay the highest interest rate debt first. 

If you cannot pay extra, it provides a worksheet to help you trim excess spending. The best part about the app is how it pushes you to be proactive in getting out of debt.

If you do not mind really getting into the nitty-gritty and sharing your personal information, the free Ready for Zero app may work best for you. 

It asks for your social security number and personal questions that ensure you are who you say you are. And, it gives advice that is specifically tailored to your needs.

There are many resources out there that can help you to reduce debt and turn a negative situation into a positive one. The key is to start sooner rather than later.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. It's a really helpful information. I don't have any debts now, but I believe this will be very useful later. I have also read a nice article about how we could face against debt collectors if we have been harassed by them at We, as a consumer, should know what's our rights and responsibilities.


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