Looking to clean up your credit? Tired of creditors contacting you day and night? Or maybe you’re struggling with wage garnishment, IRS withholding, or an impending lawsuit? Whatever the case is when you’re dealing with more debt than you have income, it can be challenging to cope with. Still needing to pay your regular bills and support your loved ones, getting your debt under control may seem impossible. Though not sure you need to go to the extreme and file bankruptcy, you do want to find some sort of relief and fast.
That’s where the art of negotiation comes in. When your accounts have been delinquent for several months or years, creditors and debt collection agencies are really just looking for the best means to resolve the matter. As such, you may be able to work out an arrangement that reduces your stress and your debt simultaneously. In order to get the best deal, however, you’ll need to be prepared.
Verify the Debt is Real
You’d be surprised how many scam artists there are out there preying on the pockets of those who are in extreme debt. Before you make an arrangement to repay the balance, make sure the debt is truly yours. Request proof of debt in writing within 30 days of receiving notice that you owe. It is the creditor’s job to send information proving it is, in fact, a debt you owe.
Determine What You Can Pay
Before contacting a creditor to discuss lowering your debts it is imperative to have an understanding of what you can feasibly afford. Tying yourself into an arrangement that you can’t afford can make things worse and prevent them from trying to help in the future. Review your budget to see how much you can safely dedicate per month to paying off the bill. For those lump sum deals that creditors might offer, you can use a loan to pay it off. There are alternative loans if you have credit issues which will give you several hundred dollars. This way, you’ve resolved the debt and have more time to repay the short-term loan.
Contact Debt Collectors
Now that you know the debt is yours to repay and you have an idea of how much you can afford, you’re ready to contact debt collectors. When reaching out, they will try to throw offers at you to get the balance paid in full. If the offers are something you can’t afford, don’t get hooked on them. Instead, express your interest in paying back the debt but explain that your finances are what they used to be. Let them know how much you can pay each month. It is best to throw out a number lower than what you’ve budgeted above. This way, if there is a counter offer, it comes closer to what you can afford instead of something beyond your means.
Don’t let something like debt continue to ruin your life – especially when there’s a way out. If you’ve had a lot of old accounts on your credit report that you’re trying to get rid of, the art of negotiating will help you immensely and save you a ton of money. Start by getting all the facts, knowing what you can pay, and then contact the debt collection agencies to negotiate more affordable terms. Once you’ve negotiated, be sure to request it in writing and stick to it until your debts have been paid in full.