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Debt Negotiation Guide:Stage One
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You may have heard that negotiating debt settlements with your creditors is one of the most effective ways of dealing with debt problems. It certainly can be, and is a very common approach to dealing with a serious debt crisis. It is particularly suitable for people who have found that they do not have enough spare income to meet the repayments on a debt management plan.
If you have a substantial amount of unsecured debt (things like credit cards, personal loans, store cards, bank overdrafts, etc) and you are not managing to keep up with repayments, you may well wish to consider debt settlement. When you debts become unmanageable, there are in general three choices open to you for tackling the situation:
You can read more about this on the Debt Management page, but it essentially involves using a company to set up a debt management plan. To do this they renegotiate the terms of your debts so that you can consolidate them all into one, affordable monthly payment. You need to have enough income to make regular monthly payments into the plan, which goes to pay off your creditors.
Using A Debt Settlement Company
You can read more detailed advice about using the services of experienced debt negotiators on the page covering debt settlement companies. For UK residents, the equivalent of debt settlement is an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, covered in detail on the IVA page.
When you use a debt settlement company, they will negotiate with all your creditors on your behalf to settle your debts for substantially reduced amounts. You stop paying your creditors and just make a single monthly payment into a separate account until all your debts are settled. Good debt settlement companies will normally just take a proportion of what they manage to save you as their fee.
Negotiating With Creditors Yourself
This is when you undertake to do yourself what you would otherwise be paying the debt settlement companies to do on your behalf. You must take on each of your creditors with view to striking deals with them to write off as large a proportion of your debts as you can.
If you have ever tried approaching any of your creditors with view to getting them to agree to a reduction in the amount you owe, you will probably know that it is not as easy as it sounds. Each creditor is different and they all have systems and procedures that they will follow. You need to have an understanding of some of these in order to know what to say to them and when to say it. If you try negotiating at the wrong time you will get nothing but threats of legal action, whereas there are other crucial times in their processes when you are likely to strike a deal for the maximum possible reduction on your debt.
The obvious advantage of negotiating debt settlements directly is that there is no third party company to be paid, so you get the maximum benefit from whatever reduction you manage to negotiate. You need to weigh up whether the deals you strike are likely to be good enough for you to still be better off than if you got an expert to do it and they took a cut. One way of ensuring that you have all the knowledge and skills you need to enable you to get the maximum reductions is to get help from one of the various guides on how to negotiate debt.
If you can successfully negotiate on your own the same settlements that a professional company would have achieved, then you will be better off by the amount that you would have had to pay to the company. For large debts this could amount to a saving of thousands. So it is well worth doing it yourself if you can pull it off. Without the right help and advice, however, your efforts at debt negotiation could end up being completely wasted, while your debts continue to mount up and the possibility of legal action increases.
For US citizens, the use of third party debt settlement companies is prohibited or restricted in Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Wisconsin. However, there is no problem in these states with seeking help in order to do the negotiation yourself.
You need to consider the cost of getting the help you need to be successful in your negotiations, and compare that to what you would pay a settlement company. If you can achieve the same result for only a small investment, then you stand to save thousands by the time all your debts are settled.
The following are a selection of the best guides available to help people through every step of the debt negotiation process. There are many guides out there that cover this subject, but most of them are fairly uninspiring statements of the obvious or collections of articles that provide less than comprehensive advice. The ones listed below all cover the real inside information you need to know to negotiate debts successfully, and the selection is chosen to provide a range of options from full training with one to one coaching to straightforward e-books, with prices which vary accordingly.
This is a guide by Maria Martin, which specifically focuses on credit card debt settlement. The inside information this time comes from Maria's own experience of serious debt problems and working out how to negotiate settlements with card companies. After exploring all sorts of different solutions, she eventually worked out how to deal with a debt of over $75,000 on her own, having learned an awful lot along the way.
Her e-book is a detailed guide, including scripts for phone calls, template letters and a lot of vital information about how credit card companies deal with bad debts, including the crucial negotiation percentages for all the major card companies. The guide costs a lot less than the Zip Debt course, but obviously does no include any kind of ongoing support.
As well as the low cost of the guide, Maria offers a full money back guarantee for sixty days if for any reason you are not delighted with her advice. Find out more about what the guide covers on Maria's website.
This is the most comprehensive guide on how to settle debts, written by Charles Phelan, who was one of the original pioneers of debt settlement and probably knows more about the inner workings of the industry than anyone else. He shares his detailed knowledge in what is really a debt negotiation training course.
The standard package includes eight hours of training on audio CDs, plus a one to one telephone consultation with Charles, followed by unlimited email advice from him for six months. It also includes a document review facility, where you can fax through a document for Charles to look at and he will get back to you with his personal advice.
Such a comprehensive and personal package is obviously not cheap, but there is a budget option too that includes everything except the telephone and email support and the document review. The most telling aspect of this guide is that there is an incredible 365 day money back guarantee, which speaks volumes for how confident Charles is that his techniques will work for you. Find out more on his website.
This is an e-book that provides exactly what its title suggests. The author Scott Stephen knows pretty much all there is to know about debt, not as an industry insider, but as someone who has been in and out of serious debt more times than most. Having been through bankruptcy three times, he understands what you are going through very well, and has gained an incredible amount of knowledge about the workings of the whole debt industry.
He spent eight years researching this book, and has an unusually detailed knowledge of the tortuous ins and outs of the constantly changing laws in relation to bankruptcy and debt. His goal is to make you an expert on how the debt industry works and to enable you to use that knowledge to get you out of debt as fast as possible. His focus is on several special techniques which he says are not widely known about, but which are extremely effective.
The book is at a special low price at the moment, and Charles offers a 60 day money back guarantee. Find out more by visiting his website.
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