People who accumulate more debt than they can pay each month often have the desire for it to just magically disappear. The overdue notices start to arrive in the mail and the phone calls asking when you will make a payment start to fill your voice mailbox. It is a stressful time for anyone, but there is a solution.
Keep these three things in mind:
Communicate. Creditors have heard it all. From “the dog ate my checkbook” to “I was abducted by aliens and couldn’t pay my bills.” However, what they can’t hear is your willingness to take care of a debt you have accrued if you don’t give them a call.
Chucking the late notices and avoiding the phone calls may seem like a good way to avoid the problem, but it is only a temporary fix. You need to have a conversation with those to whom you owe money so that they know you intend to pay at some point.
It doesn’t matter to the creditors why you are in debt or missed last month’s payment. What matters to them is that you are aware there is a problem and you want to make good.
You may be surprised by how willing and creative creditors can be when you have a conversation with them. They may have several different options that can help you with your debt. It doesn’t matter if your situation is due to a temporary problem like you had an unexpected household bill that took your entire emergency fund, or you lost your job and are struggling just to put food on the table. When you call and have a conversation with your creditors, it lets them know you recognize there is a problem and you want to find a mutually satisfactory solution.
When you avoid their calls, they may immediately believe you intend to try and skip on the debt. Silence can lead to collection agencies and harmful marks on your credit report.
So give them a call.
Be Honest. Before you make the call, you will first need to assess your situation; income versus amount owed, to know what you can pay. You need to be honest with yourself before you can be honest with creditors. What is the likelihood that you can pay your bill current in the next month, two months or six months? This is not the time to say what you think someone wants to hear.
Creditors will work with you in good faith if you are honest with them. If you plan to take on a second job but won’t receive a paycheck for a few weeks, make sure the creditor knows that it may be a month before you can make a payment rather than promising payment in a shorter time frame.
The more honest you are with yourself and your creditors the better.
Follow-Through. Once you have come to an agreement, stick to it. The creditor will have made a plan in good faith and you need to abide by what you have agreed to. If something happens where you are unable to meet your new obligation, call them immediately. Keep the relationship on a positive note. Creditors are people just like you with bills and financial obligations. They want you to succeed. If you keep to the plan and keep them informed along the way, you are that much closer to ridding yourself of your debt.
For more information, Market Watch offers 10 tips for negotiating with creditors. However, also know that the bankruptcy attorneys of Bankruptcy Advocates are skilled at creditor negotiation and can help you secure the assistance you need to get out from under your debt. Give us a call. The first consultation is always free.
If you determine, anywhere along the process of trying to negotiate your debts, that it will not be possible, (either because you have no funds available to offer, or your creditors reject any offer you make) this is usually where people start to realize bankruptcy may be a viable option. It will protect you from suits, liens, garnishments, loss of work time due to court appearances, etc. Bankruptcy Advocates is on your side. Call us.
Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Attorney law firm, Bankruptcy Advocates is proud to state that by Act of Congress, we have been designated a Debt Relief Agency.
We are located in Carbondale and serve a wide geographic community including Carbondale, Murphysboro, Marion, West Frankfort, Johnston City, Benton, Herrin, DuQuoin, and Pickneyville. Our southern Illinois bankruptcy attorneys help people file for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Give us a call at 618-549-9800 or email us at [email protected] to speak about your case or legal matter. Convenient appointment times are available. We can meet using Zoom or in person.