It is easy to get into debt, but difficult to get out, especially when your debt has been accumulating for some time. To get out of debt, you may try these simple DIY strategies:
- Stop borrowing more money.
- Reduce spending to put more money into repaying your debt.
- Ask your creditors for a lower interest rate. For credit card debt, you may take advantage of the card company’s debt assistance or hardship programs and ask the credit card company to lower your interest rates and waive fees. If your credit score is still good, you may be able to apply for a credit card with a 0% balance transfer offer to buy time.
- Consolidate your debt. Many financial companies offer debt consolidation loans with interest rates that are much lower than credit card rates.
If your debt has become unmanageable and these strategies are not enough, you may have to consider debt settlement/debt relief services or even bankruptcy.
Debt settlement companies offer to renegotiate, settle, or in some way change the terms of a person’s debt to a creditor or debt collector. There are many pitfalls with debt settlement and you may fall prey to some bad actors in the business. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides some good advice and tips on using debt settlement services. You may also consult a bankruptcy lawyer first. Choose a law firm that is a debt relief agency as legally defined by Federal Law. Initial consultations are often free.
Bankruptcy sounds like the end of the world, but it has its advantages. It could stop collection calls, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and it could erase debt. It also may help your credit scores in the long run. Most unsecured debt, including credit card debts, personal loans, lawsuit judgments, car loans can be wiped out or “discharged” in bankruptcy, but child support, tax debts, student loans and some other types of debts generally cannot.
If bankruptcy is your best option, choose an experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney who can help you understand the information necessary to file for bankruptcy and avoid the dangers that can cost you property or money.