Will Debt Settlement or Debt Negotiation Help?
For many individuals and families in Massachusetts searching for a viable debt relief option to bankruptcy, debt settlement or a debt negotiation program may help consumers avoid personal bankruptcy and settle debts for less than the full amount owed. Debt settlement typically offers the most benefits for those with high balance credit cards. The goal of debt settlement is for consumers, through a debt negotiator, to get individual creditors to agree to "settle" debts for much less than what is actually owed.
How Does Debt Settlement Work?
Debt settlement typically encourages consumers in financial hardship to stop making minimum payments to creditors in order to redirect the funds to build up monies in a "set aside" account that can later be used for the purpose of extending a debt settlement offer to a credit card company. It stands to reason that a credit card company, faced with the prospects of "selling off" bad debt (when a consumer is 60-90 days late or more) for as little as 10 cents on the dollar may be willing to accept a negotiated settlement offer from a consumer truly experiencing a financial hardship. While debt settlement can save a substantial amount of money and it can be a positive alternative to bankruptcy, it is a more agressive debt relief option whose drawbacks should be recognized.
One such drawback: When consumers stop paying cards according to the terms of their agreements, creditors can threaten or take legal action, although they may not often choose to exercise this right. In addition, the money that is saved by settling for substantially less is subject to taxation. Lastly, debt settlement will likely have a negative impact on personal credit, but the impact will not be as serious or long lasting as personal bankruptcy.
If you are in need of debt relief assistance due to high interest, high balance credit cards and other unsecured debts, learn more about your debt relief options and get a free debt relief analysis and savings estimate - at no obligation.
Debt Consolidation Through Debt Management Plans
Consumers who want to combine or consolidate their high interest credit cards and other unsecured debts into a single, more manageable monthly payment may want to examine a debt management plan as another debt relief option. The objective of a personalized debt consolidation or debt management program (DMP) coordinated by a credit counselor or debt counselor is to help consumers save a substantial amount of money and also get out of debt as quickly as possible by taking advantage of the benefits of debt relief, such as lower interest rates and the waiving of late fees and penalties.
In Massachusetts, prior to customizing a DMP to fit a consumer's needs, a credit counselor or debt relief specialist will typically interview the consumer in order to gain a clear understanding of their debts. Then they will conduct a budget analysis to find out how much money can be realistically allocated each month to pay down those debts. Based on this information, they will come up with a game plan (a debt management plan or DMP) and send proposals to each of the consumer's creditors requesting the benefits of debt relief for the individual or family experiencing financial hardship. These benefits typically include a waiving of late fees, lower interest rates and penalties, and more favorable, more affordable repayment terms. Those creditors who agree to the proposals are then added to the debt management plan. For those that do not accept the proposals, consumers are still obligated according to the terms of their original cardholder agreements.
State Programs for Low-Income Families
Debt relief programs have certainly helped many Americans during times of financial hardship. In addition, many state residents may also benefit from state-assisted programs and services to help those in serious hardship and in need of assistance to pay for the essentials in life such as food, clothing, medical, utilities, and more. The state of Massachusetts also has programs to assist those who are unemployed, helping improve job skills through training and certification programs. If you're interested in any of these programs, go to the state's homepage Benefits section.
The bottom line: Debt consolidation or debt management plans can be very effective and save a substantial amount of money only if consumers stop accumulating credit card debt and begin the process of paying down the principal amount of debt on time, month after month, at a lower interest rate. The concept is simple in theory: Stop using credit cards; start paying down existing principal debt on time, month after month, at a lower interest rate; and fulfill the program as scheduled. Then, celebrate your hard-earned, debt-free day. It's simple math and it does work and can save a substantial amount of money, if consumers stop using credit cards and payoff existing debt at a lower interest rate.
Could a debt consolidation or debt management plan help you resolve debts faster, and how much could you save? Find out by requesting Your Free Debt Relief Evaluation and Savings Estimate.