Struggling with debt makes daily life difficult. No matter what caused the debt: job loss, medical bills or simply overspending, the question is the same. How can I get out of debt?
There are a several options to consider when you are ready to get out of debt.
Balance Your Budget
Create a balanced budget by eliminating and reducing expenses, freeing up income to pay down your debt. This can also mean finding ways to earn more money, or ways to make sharp cuts in everyday expenses.
Negotiate with Creditors
Sometimes budgeting alone isn’t enough. You can ask your creditors for hardship rates or special repayment plans. Unfortunately, these creditor-direct plans are often temporary, which means you can face the same problems with fees and high interest in a matter of months, once their plan expires.
Paying your creditors less than you owe may sound tempting. But achieving this reduced balance comes at the cost of negative credit reporting. In addition, settlement arrangements greater than $600 are reported to the IRS as taxable income, so you may have to pay tax on your settlement, too.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal option when you have overwhelming debt and no way to pay it back. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a court-approved repayment plan managed by a court-appointed administrator.
Debt management benefits include reduced interest rates, waived fees and the convenience of making a single monthly payment. Participating in a Debt Management Plan will also help you learn effective money management skills so you can make the most of your income.
Nonprofit credit counseling from Take Charge America can guide you toward the best option. You will work directly with a certified counselor to develop a detailed monthly budget and action plan, and determine the most efficient way to help you get out of debt.