Have problems with paying bills? Getting notices from different creditors? Are your bank accounts being handed over to loan officers or debt collectors? Are people worried about losing their car or home? Well, the good news is you are not alone. A lot of individuals face a hard financial crisis or crossroads at some point in their lives.
Whether the problem is caused by job loss, overspending, or family or personal illness, it can be pretty overwhelming. But usually, it can be solved or overcome. People’s financial situation does not have to go from bad to very bad. If an individual faces a financial crisis, they need to consider these options: relief services such as settlement from a legit and reputable organization; self-help using attainable budgeting methods; bankruptcy; or debt consolidation. How do people know which will work best for them? It depends on their level of debt, their prospects in the future, and their level of discipline.
Developing a budget
The first thing people need to do when taking control of their finances is to make some realistic assessment of the amount of money they take in, as well as the amount of money they spend. They can start by listing their income from every source. Then, they need to list their fixed expenses like car payments, rent or mortgage payments, or insurance premiums. Next, they should list all the expenses that vary, such as entertainment, clothing, or groceries.
Writing down these expenses, even those that look insignificant is a good way to track their spending patterns, prioritize, and identify essential expenses. The primary goal is to ensure they can make ends meet on basic things like education, insurance, health care, food, and housing.
People can find information about money management and budgeting techniques on the Internet, in bookstores, or at their public libraries. Computer software can be very helpful for maintaining and developing a budget plan, balancing checkbooks, as well as creating plans to pay down obligations and save money.
To find out more about consumer spending patterns, click here for more info.
People need to make sure to contact the creditors immediately if they are having problems making ends meet. It is imperative to tell creditors why it is hard for them, and they should try to work out modified payment plans that minimize their payments to a more realistic and manageable level. Individuals should not wait until their accounts have been handed over to debt collectors. At this point, lending firms have given up on the borrower.
Dealing with loan officers and debt collectors
Government law indicates when and how collectors may contact borrowers: not before eight in the morning, after nine in the evening, or while borrowers are at work if the collector knows that the borrower’s employer does not approve of their calls. These professionals may not harass people, lie, or use any unfair practices when firms try to collect the debt. And they need to honor a request from the individual to stop future contact.
Debt relief services
Suppose a person is struggling with a particular credit card debt and cannot work out a payment plan with their creditors on their own. In that case, they can consider contacting debt relief services such as debt settlement or credit counseling. Depending on the kind of service, people might get advice on how to deal with their mounting bills or design plans for paying their creditors.
Before doing business with debt relief services, make sure to check it out with your state’s Attorney General, as well as local consumer protection organizations. They can tell if any consumer complaints are filed about the firm you are planning to hire.
Ask the state’s Attorney General if the firm is needed to be licensed to work in the state. If you are thinking about getting the necessary help to stabilize your finances, do some research first? Find out what kind of service a business provides, how long it will take to get the firm’s promised result, and how much the service cost. Do not rely on the company’s verbal promises. Get things in writing and read contracts carefully, especially the fine print.
Managing home and auto loans
People’s debts can be either secured debenture or an unsecured one. Secured debts are tied to assets, like a house or a car. If a person stops making payments, lending firms can repossess their vehicles or foreclose their homes. On the other hand, unsecured debentures are not tied to any assets. It includes medical care, credit card debts, signature loans, and bills.
Most car financing agreements allow creditors to repossess the borrower’s vehicle any time they are in default. No notice is needed. If the vehicle is repossessed, individuals may have to repay the remaining balance due on their loan, as well as the storage and towing cost, to get it back. If they cannot do this, creditors can sell the vehicle.
If people see the default is inevitable, the best thing to do is to sell the car themselves and pay off their debts. They will avoid the additional cost of a repossession, as well as the negative entry on their credit report. If the person falls behind on their mortgage, they can immediately contact their bank or lending firm to avoid home foreclosure.
Most firms are willing to work with borrowers if they believe they are acting in good faith, as well as the situation is not permanent. Some lending institutions may suspend or reduce the payment for a short time. Although, when individuals resume regular payments, there is a good chance that they will pay additional fees towards the total past due.
Other firms may agree to change the terms of mortgages by extending the payment period to minimize monthly debts. Borrowers should ask whether they offer lån lav rente (low-interest loans) or additional charges and calculate how much the total fees are in the long term. If the borrower and the lender cannot work out a fair plan, people can contact a housing counseling firm.
Some of these firms limit their services to property owners with Federal Housing Administration mortgages. Still, a lot of these organizations offer free help to property owners who are having problems making payments.
Reputable and legitimate credit counseling firms can advise individuals on managing their debts and money, help them design a manageable budget, and offer free workshops and educational materials. Their professional counselors are trained and certified in consumer credit, debt and money management, as well as budgeting.
These professionals discuss people’s entire financial situation with them and help individuals develop personalized plans to solve their financial problems. Initial counseling usually lasts for an hour, with offers of follow-up sessions. Most credit professionals are non-profits and offer services through the Internet, on the phone, or at local offices.
If possible, people need to find a firm that offers face-to-face counseling. A lot of housing authorities, credit unions, military bases, and universities operate non-profit credit guidance programs. People’s local consumer protection organizations, financial institutions, family members, and friends may also be excellent referrals and information sources.
But be cautious that the non-profit status does not guarantee that counseling is free, legitimate, or affordable. As a matter of fact, some of these organizations charge a pretty high fee, which is sometimes hidden, or urge their customers to make contributions that can cause more bills or debt.