Debt can be all-encompassing and ever-present. Many people who have suffered through years of accumulating bills, harassing collection-agency calls and brutal financial compromises describe debt as a small body of water that won’t stop growing.
At first, the cool water might seem inviting on a hot day. Since you think you know where the other side lies, you don’t worry much about swimming away from the shore. After all, you’ll be able to get back with just a few minutes of effort.
Of course, you don’t realize that the lake is getting bigger as you swim away. After a while, you look up and discover that you can barely see the shore that you left earlier. You can’t even see the other side anymore.
Try as you might, you can’t seem to make it back to dry land. The best that you can do is to swim parallel to the shore. You feel as if you’re destined to move sideways forever. You wonder whether you should just give up and let go.
Like the lake, debt has a funny way of growing right under your nose. At a certain point, fighting its relentless expansion might seem like a losing proposition. If you have trouble making your minimum payments each month and worry about your continued ability to provide for your family, you may be thinking about giving up and declaring bankruptcy.
When you declare bankruptcy, you’ll open your private finances to the scrutiny of a curious public. Your bankruptcy filing will be a matter of public record: A full accounting of the discharge of your debts must be made available for interested parties to peruse in perpetuity.
Unless you have very few assets to your name, you stand to lose most of your possessions and available cash reserves to your creditors. Once your filing has become official, your bankruptcy judge will first divide some of your assets among your secured creditors.
For instance, any of the equity that you’ve managed to build up in your home will be wiped away. Your mortgage lender may then foreclose on the property. If you have an outstanding car loan, your auto lender may seize your vehicle in lieu of repayment.
Your unsecured creditors will be next in line. These may include your credit card issuers, payday lenders, and medical providers. They’ll take most of what remains of your assets. While you’ll be able to “exempt” or shield a modest amount of your property from your creditors, this exemption won’t begin to replace the memories that you’ll lose during the course of the bankruptcy process.
Once your debts have been discharged, you’ll face a lengthy financial recovery. Your credit score will be seriously damaged, making it hard for you to secure new credit facilities that might help you get your life back on track. Since many employers now run extensive background checks before making new hires or approving promotions, you may even have trouble finding new work or earning a security clearance at your current job.
Bankruptcy is the financial equivalent of accepting that you’ll never make your way back to the shore of your imaginary ever-expanding lake. While bankruptcy might seem like the easiest route out of debt, your decision to declare yourself insolvent assumes that you don’t have any other options.
You do have other options. In fact, you might just be able to build yourself the financial equivalent of a motorboat and power your way out of debt.
Debt settlement can be your motorboat. While the debt settlement process may negatively affect your credit in the short run, its effects won’t be as serious as those of bankruptcy.
The debt settlement process also occurs out of the view of the general public. It may be less costly as well. Debt settlement helps you pay down your unsecured debts and may free up extra funds for you to remain current on your mortgage and car payment. Unlike bankruptcy, the debt settlement process may actually help you stay in your home.
Past debt settlement customers have seen their debts reduced in two to four years. Since your unsecured creditors want to resolve your financial problems and put your debts to rest just as badly as you do, these companies may be willing to settle for far less than they’re owed.
Best of all, debt settlement requires no upfront payments. Whereas you may have to retain a costly lawyer to navigate the bankruptcy process, your debt settlement provider will ask for compensation only when your debts have been settled and your life is back on track.
Don’t put off the most important phone call of your life any longer. Talk to a debt settlement professional today and learn more about this powerful process.