Understanding Debt Relief Options
If you are a resident of Massachusetts experiencing a financial hardship and searching for debt relief options to help you reduce or resolve debts, be aware that personal bankruptcy is not the only available option. It's a fact of life that many individuals and families find themselves overwhelmed and need assistance to help with managing, reducing or paying off debts from credit cards and unsecured debts like utilities, department store charges, or medical bills. The good news is, there are debt relief options or "solutions" that may allow you to lower your payments, reduce debts, save money, and get out of debt at an accelerated pace. These debt relief options typically include debt consolidation, debt management through credit counseling, or even debt settlement or debt negotiation.
How Debt Management or Debt Consolidation Plans Work
A debt consolidation program, also known as a debt management program (DMP), is designed to combine or consolidate multiple high-interest consumer debts into one more affordable monthly payment. Using the benefits of debt relief, such as lower and more lenient interest rates and the waiving of late fees and penalties, a debt management plan coordinated by a debt counselor or credit counselor can provide personalized assistance for consumers who need a more predictable and manageable way out of debt.
Prior to beginning any debt management plan, a certified debt counselor will typically interview consumers in order to get a clear understanding of all of their debts. Then they will conduct a budget analysis to find out how much money can be realistically set aside each month to pay down those debts. Finally, based on this information they will come up with a strategy (a debt management plan or DMP) and send proposals to each of the consumer's creditors requesting the benefits of debt relief on behalf of the individual or family experiencing financial hardship. These benefits can include lower interest rates, a waiving of late fees and penalties, and generally more favorable repayment terms. Those creditors who agree to the proposals are then added to the debt management plan. For those that do not, consumers are still obligated with creditors according to the terms of their original agreements.
There is good news as a result of committing and following a debt relief plan. Once consumers stop racking up new credit card charges and begin to regularly pay down debts at lower interest rates, the process of debt resolution and paying off the principal amount of debt becomes predictable – even exciting for consumers who are used to living with spiraling debt. While debt management plans do not make debts go away with the wave of a wand, they can be very effective and save a substantial amount of money if followed faithfully. Overall, they are an honorable way for consumers to get out of debt on a predictable path and live up to their financial obligations as promised.
If you are considering debt consolidation or a debt management plan coordinated with the help of a credit or debt relief counselor, take a moment to find out how debt plans may be able to help you resolve debts faster. Get your free debt relief evaluation and savings estimate.
What Is Debt Settlement and How Does It Work?
Debt settlement or debt negotiation is a debt relief option that is more commonly utilized by individuals and families who have high interest, high-balance credit card debt and are seriously considering bankruptcy. It is a more aggressive form of debt relief that has helped consumers get out of credit card debt via a negotiated settlement. – if the consumer can set aside and accumulate money in a single account, which can later be used to extend a settlement offer to creditors.
It is important to understand that debt settlement, while it can save consumers a substantial amount of money, it is a form of debt relief that isn't without it's drawbacks. For instance, when you enroll in a debt settlement program, your credit score will typically fall because it usually involves "falling behind" on your monthly credit card payments in order to divert the funds to build up a settlement offer (lump sum) for a creditor. In addition, as you fall behind on making payments, creditors may threaten, or take, legal action as you are not living up to the terms of your credit card agreements. Lastly, it is necessary to understand that even though debt settlement has become increasingly popular because it can help consumers save a substantial amount of money, the money saved through debt settlement is subject to federal taxes.
If you reside in Massachusetts and are struggling with credit cards and in need of debt relief, find out how debt relief plans may be able to help you save money and resolve debts at an accelerated rate. Get your free debt relief evaluation and savings estimate.
Credit card companies have specific reasons why they may be agreeable to "settle" with consumers. For example, if credit card companies eventually decide to "sell off" accounts that are 90 to 120 days or more overdue to a collection agency, creditors may get as little as 10 cents on the dollar. It is not surprising, then, that credit card companies may be willing to accept a reasonable settlement offer made by you or by a debt settlement company negotiating on your behalf. Again, it is important to recognize that money saved through credit card settlements is subject to federal taxation. In addition, when consumers default on their credit card agreements in order to set aside money in a settlement fund, creditors may threaten or take legal action. Finally, debt settlement will likely have a negative impact on personal credit, but typically not be as serious or long lasting of an impact as personal bankruptcy.
If you are struggling with credit cards or other unsecured debts, or experiencing financial difficulties and need to review your debt relief options, you can request a free debt relief evaluation and savings estimate today.
State Programs for Low-Income Individuals
There's no question that debt relief programs have helped many Americans during their times of financial hardship. But other people may need more immediate relief, such as help paying for utilities, rent, buying groceries, or even paying for medical care. The state of Massachusetts has a variety of financial assistance programs available, such as The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or the Supplemental Security Income Program.
To learn more about these resources, go to the state's homepage Benefits section.
Are You Experiencing a Financial Hardship and Need Relief?
As you explore debt relief programs, it's worth noting that whether it's debt consolidation coordinated by a credit counselor, or debt settlement using the services of a debt negotiator, they are all designed to help consumers who are truly experiencing a financial hardship. Debt relief programs are not for individuals who are fiscally fit and able but simply want to walk away from debts and ignore the terms of their original cardholder agreements. Just as the option of personal bankruptcy was overused by some consumers on multiple occasions until the "bankruptcy means test" was put into effect to end this practice, there are financially capable consumers who elect to take advantage of debt relief programs that are designed to provide a safety net for individuals and families going through a financial hardship.
If you are in need of relief from credit card debts, or other unsecured debts, take a moment to request your free debt relief evaluation and savings estimate today.