Many people find themselves owning much more money than they can realistically afford to pay back. If you can relate to this situation, then it’s highly likely that you’ve researched your options and have decided that negotiating with your creditors for reduced settlements on your credit card balances may be the best solution to become debt-free.
Now that you’ve made the decision to attempt negotiating with your creditors you’re probably left wondering what steps to take and whether or not you need to have a debt settlement firm to do the negotiating on your behalf. Well, that depends; some people can successfully negotiate reduced settlements with their creditors, while others simply feel too intimidated when they face any type of controversy. My experience has shown that approximately fifty percent of the people with whom I talk are willing and able to negotiate on their own.
If you can remain calm and, at the very least, sound confident, during the stress, badgering, harassment and several phone calls from your various creditors, and you’re patient enough to take the time to become educated about the process of debt settlement, there’s no reason you can’t negotiate on your own.
If you’re going to go it alone, it’s important to understand that the debt settlement process can take several months, and during this time your creditors won’t stop badgering you, and trying to convince you to enter into a re-payment arrangement. But remember, you decided to negotiate with your creditors due to the fact that you simply could no longer afford to make your monthly payments. Even if your creditors are willing to reduce your monthly payments and/or interest, you’ll still be faced with many monthly payments over a period of several years. So, during the course of your discussions with creditors, stand your ground and insist that you simply cannot commit to a long term payment agreement.
If you need convincing to remain on solid ground when talking with your creditors, think very carefully for a moment about the “make-up” of the credit industry. If you’ve made your payments on time every single month for the last several years and suddenly faced a hardship, your creditors simply wouldn’t care. You could call and write to these companies, begging for a break on your interest or payments and they won’t budge. Only once you become delinquent will they finally offer you a reduced interest rate or payments. This fact alone should help you stand your ground and insist that you absolutely will not agree to their new payment terms. They weren’t willing to help you after you reached out, begging for assistance, and this unwillingness by creditors to cooperate has led many people down the path to bankruptcy.
After several months and numerous discussions with your creditors you’ll eventually reach a mutually agreeable negotiated settlement. Prior to releasing funds to your creditor, you’ll want to obtain a settlement letter, which clearly states the settlement arrangements that have been verbally agreed upon. This is very important; remember, if it’s not in writing it doesn’t exist, so until you have a settlement letter with a settlement amount, a deadline and the correct account number, don’t pay a dime.
Successful debt settlement requires knowledge and education. Take your time and take advantage of the many resources that are available. Even if you find that it’s necessary to spend a few hundred dollars to buy materials that will inform and educate you, you’ll end up being several thousand dollars ahead. Your decision to become debt-free is one you will not regret.