When debts begin to pile up around you and you cannot make your regular monthly repayments on time or even at all, you may be faced with a very stressful situation. To make things worse, you will be denied credit from other lenders because you are unable to pay the credit you already have. If that is not bad enough, you will also have rude, irate and threatening letters and phone calls from your creditors, demanding that you pay them what is owed. As these problems escalate, so do your bills. The problem with many consumer debts or unsecured credit is the interest rates are so high that, even if you are keeping up with your minimal monthly payments, chances are that you will never pay off your debts anyway. If the interest was not bad enough, once you begin to fall behind in your repayments or you borrow above the limit on your credit cards, you are likely to end up paying a whole host of other additional fees, such as late payment and over the limit penalties.
When faced with these situations, you need debt relief or ways to get your debt under control to place yourself in a position where you are able to get rid of your debts once and for all. Before exploring debt relief options, keep in mind that it did not take you a matter of days or weeks to get into debt, so you could hardly expect that debt relief will work for you in a matter of days or weeks either. Any option that you use to get out of debt will take time, patients and careful planning of your finances to make it effective. What To Do First: There are many different ways to get debt relief. Before you begin, you will need to sit down and make a list of all of your debts, then make a note of each creditor, their name, telephone and what their interest rates are.
You will also need to work out your incoming money and where that money goes each week. Set yourself up with a budget and stick to it, while you are looking for options that will suit your circumstances better and help you get some debt relief. See which of your debts are attracting the highest interest rates and target them. They are the biggest strain on you, so the sooner that you pay them off, the closer you will be to getting some debt relief.
Pay the minimum on all of your other debts, except for the debt at the top of your list and pay as much on that one as you possibly can. Next, you will need to call each of your creditors and explain to them your situation. Be honest with them. Where possible, ask them if you could pay your debt in full for less money or if they would lower your interest rates while you are paying your debts off.
Ask your creditors how you can work together to get your debts paid off. You may be surprised at how willing they are to help you repay your debts. If you do not feel confortable talking to your creditors, or if you are not having much luck with them, you may want to consider using a credit counseling service to help you get some debt relief. A credit councilor will work with you and your creditors to lower the interest you are paying and make your monthly repayments more manageable. Additionally, a credit counseling service will teach you how to budget.
Some credit counseling agencies give their customers the option to pay money to them each month and have their debts paid on time by the credit counseling company. What Are Your Options? The most common way that people often think of dealing with way too many bills, is to go bankrupt. By going bankrupt, you are likely to still end up with some of your debts needing to be repaid, as well as severely damaging your credit report, which will hamper your chances of getting credit in the future. Even if you do get credit after a bankruptcy, you will have to pay huge amounts of interest, which will put you back in the same situation you are already in. So even though bankruptcy may seem like an option, use it as your very last alternative and even then use caution. One of the best ways to get some financial assistance would have to be debt consolidation.
Basically, a debt consolidation loan will pay for all of the debts that you already owe and roll them over to one, usually with lower interest rates and lower monthly repayments. There are loans available from lending institutions that do not require you to have collateral. The interest rates will be higher than a secured loan, although they will be much less than the interest rates being paid to other credit companies or on credit cards. If you currently own your own home, you may also want to consider the possibilities of a home refinance, also referred to as a home equity loan, which can be used for a variety of reasons, including repaying your debts. By refinancing, you may be able to get a lower interest rate on your home, as well as pay off your debts.
If you take the refinanced loan out over a longer term, your repayments will be lower each month, giving you instant debt relief. While debt relief is important to get out of the debt you are already in, it is also important to make sure to educate yourself in how to budget your money carefully and manage it better in the future. You want to avoid getting into a continuous cycle of getting in and out of debt.
Ken Black is the founder of Debt Relief Today, a website all about Debt Relief for those in need of financial help.