Saturday, July 25, 2009

Self Help Debt Settlement is a viable alternative to hiring a debt settlement company

Do It Yourself Debt Settlement also known as Self Help Debt Settlement is a viable alternative to resolving your debt. The dirty little secret Debt Settlement Companies do not want you to know is: They charge you thousands of dollars for a service that you can accomplish yourself. Hiring a debt settlement company is like hiring someone to tie your shoes.

If you are like millions of Americans, you are searching for solutions to your financial problem. With an unemployment rate of 9.7 percent as of June 2009, many economists are concerned that the current trend could have catastrophic implications on the economy as a whole.
The State by State unemployment rates are even more disturbing.

As of May 2009 twelve States have unemployment rates that exceed 10 percent. Of the twelve States four have unemployment that exceeds 12 percent. These States South Carolina and Rhode Island with 12.1 percent, Oregon with 12.4 percent and of course Michigan with an astounding 14.1 percent unemployment is clearly suffering the most.

The above statistics are not good news for the average consumer who is already experiencing financial difficulties. The outlook through the remainder of 2009 and early 2010 does not look encouraging either. In stating this, if you are already considering debt settlement, the question arises; how do I start negotiating with my creditors directly?

The first step to Self Help Debt Settlement is to research the entire process. There are a myriad of websites devoted to the process of debt negotiation. Most of these websites (In the interest of full disclosure, our website as well) are attempting to sell you something. The majority of these websites provide you with information that was gathered from the internet. Individuals can find all of this information on the internet with just a little research.

The next step is to gather all of your monthly bills together and establish a monthly budget. Make a list of your necessary monthly expenses to include your mortgage or rent, car payments, utilities, Insurance, gasoline, food and other household bills. Take this amount and multiply that sum by 1.2; this will give you an additional 20 percent cushion for unexpected expenses or emergencies. The difference between your total household income and the previously calculated amount is your monthly settlement budget.Start setting this amount aside as your settlement fund, as this fund accumulates use this as your benchmark for amounts you offer your creditors.

At this point you need to make an unyielding commitment to the process. It is essential that you understand that your creditors, in almost every case, will not even discuss settlements if you are currently paying them. Once you stop paying your creditors, the debt settlement process begins. The creditor is going to start escalating their collection processes in an attempt to mitigate their financial losses. Your creditors will start calling you to bring your account current. Do not avoid these phone calls; these calls are your opportunities to advise your creditors of your intentions and initiate the negotiation process.

When you are negotiating settlements with your creditors it is always in your best interest to offer settlements in one lump sum payments. If you have access to immediate cash, this is the best time to use it. Creditors are also experiencing financial difficulties in these trying economic times. If you decide to utilize investments (401k, Stocks, Bonds, IRA's and like investments) to settle your debt, seek the guidance of an experienced accountant first. The question you should ask any accountant is: Will I save money in the long term by utilizing these funds. Remember, your investments at best are generating 10 -12 percent interest. Your creditors are most likely charging you 2 - 2.5 times this amount in interest on your outstanding balance.

Now that we have described the basics, is it any wonder why Debt Settlement Companies are flooding the airwaves (both television and radio) with their commercials. These Settlement companies are preying on your fears and lack of knowledge with commercials that make it sound like they are doing something special. The fact is (as several State Attorney Generals have recently stated) several settlement companies are making promises they cannot, or never intended to keep just to separate you from your money.

The Debt Settlement Industry utilizes the basic method described earlier in this article to settle the majority of debts. The majority of these settlement companies make consumers believe that they utilize "secret programs your creditors don't want you to know about". This and other like minded statements could not be further from the truth.

Debt Settlement Companies make claims that if you make them monthly payments your debt will be resolved with in 24, 36 or 48 months. The payment amount seems to be reasonable to most people. A basic rule of thumb should apply to the above: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! What the debt settlement companies forget to advise their clients (or hide it in the fine print of the contract), is that they take the first several payments to cover their sign up fees.

Most people who enroll with Debt Settlement Companies are under the assumption that the creditors have working relationships with the Debt Settlement Company. This is a false assumption; in point of fact, they have an adversarial relationship at best. This adversarial relationship impedes as well as prolongs the debt negotiation process.

If you have read this article up to this point, you are clearly interested in settling or negotiating your debt. By now you have already started researching how the process of debt settlement works. We would like invite you to visit our website for more information on our services. We have developed a self help debt settlement module that is Patent Pending as to the method utilized. We provide secure internet access to "user specific databases" and preformatted letters that assist individuals in negotiating directly with their creditors. The website also provides the users to choose either debt reduction or debt settlement programs.

Ian Stanton
Director of Marketing
B-EZ Enterprises
(480) 278-3717