Most of us have at least some debt. You might have a mortgage, a standing student loan, and a standing balance on a credit card. But for some people, debt is crippling. They have more debt than they can ever easily pay off and the balance just seems to climb higher and higher.
What can you do if you feel like you’re in a hopeless financial situation like this?
The Good News
First, the good news: you have options. Some of the options are difficult. Some of the options have short-term consequences. But all of your options give you a potential path forward, allowing you to move past this difficult period of your life.
File for Bankruptcy
One option is to file for bankruptcy. You’re likely familiar with the idea that bankruptcy allows you to eliminate your debts in exchange for putting you in a kind of financial quarantine, damaging your credit score and making it much harder to apply for credit cards and loans in the future. However, in reality, typically, bankruptcy only negatively effects one’s credit for a relatively short period.
There are many misconceptions about bankruptcy. For starters, there are multiple types of bankruptcy and not all of them play out the same way. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, for example, generally allows a person to eliminate a substantial portion of their unsecured debt, while allowing someone to restructure other debts, to permit an individual to keep their property. If you have steady income, and you want to avoid some of the worst ramifications of bankruptcy, this option could be perfect for you.
Bankruptcy is a complex topic, and it’s not a good fit for everyone. Because of that, it’s important to talk to a bankruptcy lawyer to get more information, evaluate your options, and make the best decision for your situation.
If bankruptcy isn’t an option, or if it’s not of interest, you can consider negotiating with your creditors. Oftentimes, credit card companies and loan providers will be willing to work with you so that you can continue paying off your debts without much hassle. Sometimes, simply asking for a lower interest rate or an extended deadline for your payments is all it takes to put yourself in a better financial situation.
Debt Settlement with the Assistance of Third Parties
There are two accepted options for settling debt with the assistance of a company. The first is debt settlement and the other option is a debt management program.
Debt settlement companies may be able to work out a settlement with one or more creditors. Generally, after a certain amount is paid into the company’s account, the company will use the funds to pay off a specific creditor.
Typically, a company that handles debt management programs will work out a settlement with numerous creditors that requires a monthly payment.
There are two issues that occur when working with either option. One’s credit report will still reflect the payment arrears amount, even though a settlement agreement is in place. Also, any creditor that has not yet agreed to settle, or that refuses to settle, may continue to pursue the debt, which includes filing a lawsuit for the funds.
Transfer and Consolidate Your Balances
After negotiation, consider transferring and consolidating your balances. High interest rates can quickly skyrocket your debt, putting you deeper into a hole that’s already almost impossible to climb out of. But with lower interest rates, you’ll buy yourself more time and end up paying less over the long run. Transferring balances from high interest accounts to low interest accounts allow you to take advantage of this course of action .
Put Together a Strict Repayment Plan
After taking these initial steps, consider putting together a strict repayment plan. Ideally, you’ll be making more than the minimum payment each month, gradually chipping away at the principal you owe. You should make debt repayment one of your highest priorities in your budget, second only to absolute necessities.
Many people find it difficult to put together a repayment plan because they’re living paycheck to paycheck and barely making ends meet. If this is the case, you’ll need to improve your financial situation in other ways.
Increase Your Income
One option is to increase your income.
- Start a side gig. There are dozens, if not hundreds of ways to make money on the side. You can babysit, walk dogs, practice freelance photography, or work as a chauffeur. The options are limitless, so even if you only have a few hours each week to dedicate to this project, you can make some extra money.
- Work overtime. Are there overtime opportunities at your current place of employment? Can you take on more responsibilities to make more?
- Apply for a new position. If your current position doesn’t give you much money or flexibility, consider applying for a new one. Look for promotions or an alternative employer.
- Improve your skills. Set yourself up for long-term career success by improving your core skills. Learning new things and getting more experience will set you up for much higher pay in the future.
Reduce Your Expenses
You can also work to reduce your expenses.
- Move to a cheaper area. Different places have different costs of living. Consider moving someplace cheaper.
- Downsize your home. Smaller houses and apartments are much more affordable.
- Cut unnecessary lifestyle expenditures. Entertainment subscriptions, restaurant meals, and personal vices are unnecessary luxuries.
Increasing your income, reducing your expenses, and sticking to a strict repayment plan should be enough to help you crawl out of debt, even if you have to do it slowly. If that’s not an option for you, filing for bankruptcy could be the better option. Make sure you talk to a lawyer about the possibilities and think through all your forthcoming decisions carefully. If done right, you can start a new financial life – and leave all your old debts behind.
Interview with Omar Choudhury: The 22-Year-Old Million Dollar Business Growth Expert
Many people dream to build a million-dollar company, but only a few achieve it. Omar Choudhury aka “Omar Connects,” built his first million-dollar agency seven months from starting. Now a business growth and marketing pro, Choudhury has gone on to build multiple million-dollar companies and has been a go-to advisor for many well-known entrepreneurs, businesses, and investors.
How Did You Do It?
Having generated millions of dollars for his first agency, Omar began to consult other 7-9+ figure entrepreneurs on their social media branding and growth strategies. From talking with these high-net-worth individuals, Omar realized that their mindset was completely different from the clients who were scared to even invest $1K into his service.
So he sought after the highest ticket service he could sell and formed Connects Clout – The top media and PR consulting agency for the world’s elite entrepreneurs, businesses, and influencers. With their inside information and connections, Connects is able to help these individuals create the top 1% of social media pages.
What Keeps are You Going?
Despite being known for his work ethic, Omar’s internal values and morals are what often made him stand out in the marketplace. A man of God, and with his main goal in life to ensure his Mother is taken care of in his early twenties, Omar has inspired many others to look outside of just making money for themselves and start to do things for their soul.
Omar plans to build a charity in the future, and plans to speak on more live stages inspiring others to live their life to the fullest.
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