What to watch out for: OneMain charges an origination fee, which varies by state, and rolls it into the monthly payments. Late fees also vary by state. OneMain Financial does not operate in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. Additionally, borrowers in Florida, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas and West Virginia have unsecured loan limits of $7,000 to $14,000.


Debt arising from credit card use represents less than half of the total average unsecured debt held by Americans. In 2011, the average total unsecured debt was $21,281, and credit cards accounted for just 36% of that figure. For a clearer picture of America's indebtedness, it is critical to look at total outstanding debts - arising from both credit cards and other sources.
Hi Donna, I would suggest seeking advice from a nonprofit credit counselor as well as a reputable bankruptcy attorney. Clearpoint offers free credit counseling through Money Management International and you can reach us at 877-877-1995. If you need referral to an attorney I would start with you local legal aid, as you may qualify for assistance. You can get in touch with them by using Google or contacting your local United Way 2-1-1 and asking for legal aid. If you do not qualify, you can get a referral to an attorney via your local bar association as well. Once you have talked it over with both of these, you can make an educated decision. Good Luck!
Once you’ve paid one smaller debt in full, dedicate that freed up money to the next smallest debt. This way, you create a “snowball” of payments as you eliminate each debt. Unlike the higher interest rate method, you’ll see progress quickly as you pay off smaller debts. However, you may end up paying more in the long run, as you won’t be focusing on the larger or more costly debts. 
Conventional wisdom has long held that certain types of debt are generally good. For instance student loans are considered a good debt, because they provide an education that, in theory, leads to a high-paying job. Mortgages are also often labeled as a good debt, because real estate generally appreciates in value over time, and the interest expense may be deducted from taxes. Meanwhile, high-interest credit card debt is regularly categorized as bad debt and never beneficial.
American Debt Enders is a New York based company that started in 2007. They offer free, no obligation, credit counseling to identify the best way to improve your financial situation. Some of their specific services include debt settlement, debt consolidation, and credit repair. The American Debt Enders website offers easy-to-read information that educates you about your options, including the pros and cons of each program they offer.
The consequences of bankruptcy are significant and require careful consideration. Other factors to think about: Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows you, if you have a steady income, to keep property, such as a mortgaged house or car, that you might otherwise lose. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.
Golden Financial Services only works with the best companies in the nation, that are all “A+” rated by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). It’s not that “we’re the best,” but we can offer you the best possible debt relief plan because we have access to debt validation, debt settlement, and consumer credit counseling plans, with the top companies in the nation.
A: Usually debt consolidation affects your credit in a positive way as long as all the payments are made on time. When done correctly, consolidation should not have any negative effects on your credit. Successfully completing a debt consolidation plan should improve your credit score. You pay off your debt, always making payments on time, which improves your credit utilization ratio while building a positive payment history.

Mortgage Programs All your home buying needs in one place. DMCC provides individual mortgage readiness counseling, credit report review, assistance in preparing and submitting your loan application, and access to a loan shopping tool. We help during the home search, making an offer and closing process. We have access to affordable and flexible home loans, and special government financing resources that boost buying power and offer affordable payments. Foreclosure Prevention and Loan Modifications  As a HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency, DMCC will help you identify the best solution to avoid foreclosure while meeting your personal goals; PLUS, if you are a Florida homeowner, we will prepare your loan modification documents for free. Home Buying Education Learn about the ins and outs of buying a home and, if you are a South Florida resident, obtain the education required for many financial assistance programs. Reverse Mortgage Counseling If you are 62 or older, learn about the loan that pays you and get the required counseling certificate.
Sometimes getting started can be the hardest part. Jen Lee, a debt and credit strategy attorney and the owner of Jen Lee Law in Northern California, says she has clients make a list of their creditors, account balances, monthly payments and interest rates. "One of the biggest issues I see is that clients are not even sure what they owe and to whom," Lee says.
Instead — at the risk of sounding like a broken record (which we can safely say again, now that vinyl is back) — consult with a nonprofit credit counseling company. Your counselor and his/her team of experts will arrange terms with your lenders for paying off your debt; meanwhile, in most cases, they’ll help you into a plan that consolidates all your unsecured debt into a single, manageable monthly payment.
Settled debts: Of the methods we've discussed, debt settlement presents the biggest risk to your credit score because you're paying less than the full balance on your accounts. The settled debt will be marked as "paid settled" and will remain on your credit report for seven years. The more debts you settle, the bigger hit your credit score could take. In addition, late payments and even collections, which often occur when you use this method, will bring your score down.
No. All eligible unsecured debt must be accounted for in a debt management plan, even those bills that you typically have no problem making payments on. The credit counseling agency in charge of your debt payment plan will want a full accounting of income and expenses in order to arrive at an accurate amount available to make the monthly DMP payments so be prepared to include all eligible debts.
A personal loan is a form of unsecured debt, meaning the loan is not backed by any collateral. If you default on a personal loan, you won’t lose anything, unlike if you fail to make payments toward your car loan or mortgage, which are secured debts. However, if you do default on a personal loan and your creditor sues you, a lien could be placed on your wages or property.
If you're looking for help getting out of debt, consider the credit counseling and debt reduction services offered by American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC). We're a non-profit organization working to help consumers pay off their debts and live a debt-free future. Over the past 20 years, our debt reduction services have helped tens of thousands of people just like you free themselves from the weight of debt. Contact us today for a free consultation about our debt reduction services.
Debt relief is the reorganization of debt in any shape or form so as to provide the indebted party with a measure of respite, either fully or partially. Debt relief can take a number of forms: reducing the outstanding principal amount (again, either partially or fully), lowering the interest rate on loans due, or extending the term of the loan, among others.
In 2016, my son was dying in the hospital. I got a bill for 100 and something thousand dollars, it kept him alive. They found out what was wrong with him. But he was in the hospital for a month. And those medical bills kept adding up. We kept adding to the card too because we're paying for medical and paying for stuff. The next year, I had an open heart surgery, broke my leg, I had to get a pacemaker. So, within two years, we went from living okay to a life with so much debt. It hit me hard and I wasn’t able to continue paying on everything. Freedom Debt Relief took over in paying my bills. Everything went good with their consultant. I like the payment plan that they provided for me. When they get ready to make a settlement, everything falls in to place. So far, I’ve been able to pay my monthly bills off to where I can add to the monthly installment plan that I have with Freedom.
The debt settlement process involves hard-core, long term debt collection attempts by your creditors, and serious credit score damage that will last for many years. Debt consolidation companies like National Debt Relief and Freedom Debt Relief offer to help you through the process for a fee (eating into your savings). They will instruct you to stop paying your bills, which leaves you open to lawsuits by your creditors.

Like some of the credit card consolidation loans in our review, Payoff's funds aren't required to be used specifically for paying off credit card debt. In other words, if you get your Payoff loan for anywhere from $5000 to $35,000 and use it on something else, you'll still have your credit card debt PLUS monthly payments on your new loan. That's not ideal. Interest rates range from 5.99% APR to 24.99% APR, with terms between 2-5 years. On the higher end of those interest rates, you could be paying more for the personal loan than you were paying on your credit cards!
Don't be afraid to use a portion of your savings to pay down high-interest rate debts. Using cash reserves for debt repayment is a smart decision because you will stop accruing interest on those large balances. Although it may feel comforting to have some extra cash sitting in your bank account, the truth is that those funds aren't really working for you — not with today's record low interest rates. Don't deplete your savings entirely. If you're sitting on a pile of cash, do use some of those funds to eliminate your bills.
Finally, avoid thinking of continually transferring balances to escape from paying your credit card debt. While your credit score may currently allow you to open new cards, a perpetual habit of opening new cards to transfer your balance will definitely drive your credit score down: which won't solve your credit problem. Think of balance transfers as a one-time window when you will commit every bit of income you can to reduce your credit card balances before the introductory period expires and interest rates kick in.

Using the Debt Payoff Planner app, which is available on both Android and iOS, you can create a step-by-step plan for paying off your debt. The plan includes the exact amount you should pay on each debt each month to help you stay on schedule. View a summary of your complete debt picture including the total amount you owe, your total monthly payments, interest, the date you’ll be debt-free, the total payments you’ll make, and the total amount of interest you’ll pay.
Life insurance is designed to give you peace of mind and help your family manage the financial loss for your spouse, children or another family member. If the death of the insured family member would be catastrophic to the family’s finances, you should restrain yourself from borrowing against a life insurance policy. Consider the other options available to you on this page before going down this road.
Higher interest rates keep you in debt longer because so much of your payment goes toward the monthly interest charge and not toward your actual balance. However, interest rates can be negotiable, and you can ask your credit card issuers to lower your interest rate. Creditors do this at their discretion, so customers with good payment histories are more likely to successfully negotiate lower rates.
If you have good credit or better, you may be able to qualify for a balance transfer credit card. These cards typically offer low or even 0% APR promotions, ranging from six to 18 months. You transfer your existing card balances to your new card, and then pay off the balance interest-free. After the 0% introductory period, though, the rate will jump to the card's regular APR, which can be high.
If you use financing to pay off debts in collections or the balances on your credit cards, you may notice an immediate boost to your credit score. If you use a balance transfer credit card, opening a new card will increase your overall credit limit, reducing your credit utilization ratio — the total amount of credit available to you that you are using up on your credit cards.
Declines in credit card debt are often misinterpreted because they fail to include information about charge-offs. The possible causes for a decline in credit card debt are consumers paying down their debt, credit card companies writing charged-off debt off their books, or a combination of the two. Inclusion of charged-off debt can therefore significantly impact debt trends and the characterization of a nation's financial health. For example, the $10.3 billion decrease in outstanding credit card debt in Q3 2010 relative to the previous quarter might at first glance seem to be a significant consumer pay down. However, considering that the Q3 credit card charge-off rate was $16.9 billion,[2] consumers actually increased their overall debt by $6.6 billion during this quarter.[citation needed]

Tom Jackson focuses on writing about debt solutions for consumers struggling to make ends meet. His background includes time as a columnist for newspapers in Washington D.C., Tampa and Sacramento, Calif., where he reported and commented on everything from city and state budgets to the marketing of local businesses and how the business of professional sports impacts a city. Along the way, he has racked up state and national awards for writing, editing and design. Tom’s blogging on the 2016 election won a pair of top honors from the Florida Press Club. A University of Florida alumnus, St. Louis Cardinals fan and eager-if-haphazard golfer, Tom splits time between Tampa and Cashiers, N.C., with his wife of 40 years, college-age son, and Spencer, a yappy Shetland sheepdog.


Working with nearly 100,000 clients since 2002, the company reached the $1 billion mark of savings for their customers in December 2010. They did this by negotiating settlements on 188,000 individual creditor accounts for its clients becoming the first debt resolution company in the country to reach $1 billion in cumulative debt it has resolved for clients.[6] Housser was quoted saying “The achievement of obtaining $1 billion in settled debt – not just offers, but completed settlements – for consumers is positive proof of FDR’s ability to assist individuals who are in serious debt. From truly humble beginnings, FDR has maintained its singular commitment to save as much money as possible for each client who turns to the company for debt relief.”[7]

Inflation, in an economy that is growing, is caused by more money being introduced into circulation by the central bank. If the amount of tender remains constant, a currency grows or falls at the rate of the reserves that back it. The global prevalence of fractional reserve banking has caused most currencies to decline in value consistently. In a non-fractional (fully backed) reserve system, the growth of a currency is equal to the growth (or decline) of the assets backing it, fees are charged in an upfront manner, and money is worth by what it is backed.
Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to serving as Contributing Editor for The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.
Our highly trained credit counselors work with you to get a complete picture of your financial situation and lay out all the options available to you for credit card debt elimination. Counseling is available in person and over the phone. We also provide a wide variety of free educational resources on our website on topics such as budgeting, preparing for retirement, buying a home, bankruptcy and credit card debt.
Some borrowers who cannot repay loans may turn to bankruptcy protection. However, borrowers should explore every alternative before declaring bankruptcy as doing so can affect a borrower's ability to obtain financing in the future. Alternatives to bankruptcy are earning additional income, refinancing, obtaining support through assistance programs, and negotiating with creditors.
A nonprofit credit counseling agency that helps consumers take control of their financial lives through credit counseling, debt consolidation, and financial education. Since 1991, we have been improving lives and providing solutions to people in need of financial help. Call to speak with a certified credit counselor and receive a complimentary budget and debt consultation. To learn how to change your financial life, call 1-800-769-3571.
The consequence of choosing to file for bankruptcy is extensive credit damage — but, it’s also a fresh start. Like many things in life, it’s a give-and-take situation. You can free yourself from the debt burden you were carrying, but it may limit your credit options in the future. A bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for seven years and may need to be disclosed on some government forms for up to 10 years. Bankruptcies can also make it difficult to qualify for many types of new credit, especially mortgages. And, if you do receive new credit, you will likely pay the highest interest rates and fees.
Some debt settlement companies will take a percentage of the money they are able to save you. They argue that this is the fairest way to charge because the more they save you the more money they will earn. However, many debt settlement companies – including National Debt Relief – charge a flat fee that is a percentage of 15% to 25% depending on the amount of your debt. We think this is the fairer of the two options because you will know before we begin settling your debts exactly how much it will cost you. While a fee of 25% might seem steep it’s important to remember that we’re probably cutting your debt by 50%. If you were to owe $20,000 our fee would be $5000. However, if we were to reduce that $20,000 debt to $10,000 you would still come out ahead by $5000. Plus, you would be completely debt-free and how good would that feel?
The debt resolution company attorney works with you one on one to establish a debt repayment program that fits you. He then negotiates with each creditor to accept a lower payment. The attorney may also be able to eliminate interest charges and other fees. Debt resolution can proceed while you're staying current with payments. This means the creditors don't have the motivation to sue. If any legal matters arise pertaining to the debt, the attorney will address them.
4. Collateral. If you already have low or bad credit, the bank may also require you to put up something for collateral in order to consider your approval. Collateral is putting up something of value that if you fail to make your loan payment on time, the bank will seize it. Ask yourself if you’re willing to lose whatever it is you need to put up for collateral in the event you may be unable to make your payment.
Truthfully, just graduating from our debt settlement program should help to rebuild your credit score. While your credit score may decline initially while undergoing debt settlement, many of our clients find that by the time they graduate, their score has returned to the same rate if not higher than when they started. It's also important to remember that once your debt is paid off, it should be much more manageable to pay off your purchases without putting everything on credit. The fact that you're not delaying or missing payments should help to improve your credit score as well.

When is it comes to debt relief, the final option is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy provides relief by discharging most (not always all) of your debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually the fastest option. it liquidates any available assets, so you can make a clean break quickly. Chapter 13 bankruptcy sets up a repayment plan to pay back at least a portion of what you owe before final discharge.
If you are receiving calls from your creditor's collections department, speak with them openly and honestly regarding your situation. Once you have signed up with a debt management company specializing in either debt consolidation or debt settlement, inform your creditor(s) of the name and telephone number of the company. In most cases, this will stop the collection calls while the creditor verifies the information that you provided. By explaining the fact that you are working with a company who will be submitting a proposal on your behalf, most creditors will accept this information as your good faith desire to repay your debts. As the telephone begins to stop ringing, you will gain some much needed relief from the stress associated with being constantly reminded of your financial woes.
Issuing debt seems like a logical approach, but keep in mind that the government must pay interest to its creditors, and at some point, the borrowed money must be repaid. Historically, issuing debt has provided an economic boost to various countries, but in and of itself, the improved economic growth has not been particularly effective in reducing long-term government debt directly.
Once an account is included in this type of program, the creditor will close the account. Closing your credit cards will cause your credit utilization rate to increase, which can hurt credit scores. The creditor may also add a statement to the account that indicates the payments are being managed by a debt consolidation company. This statement may be viewed negatively by lenders who manually review your report.
Escalate your request and negotiations if the initial customer service representative cannot or will not negotiate. A supervisor may be able to make this decision instead. If the representative accepts your offer, ask for a confirmation letter to outline the details of your agreement. If the representative declines your offer, end the call and move to the next phase of your plan – writing a letter.
So, in this case, it’s better to start with your lowest credit card balances, rather than your highest APR debts. You knock out the “low hanging fruit,” which frees up more cash to tackle your largest debts. The steps are the same as the five steps listed above; however, at Step 2 you arrange your debts starting with the lowest balance and ending with the highest.
Be happy living within your means. For many people, debt happens because we think we deserve a certain quality of life. Why don't we deserve the expensive cars, the fine jewelry, and the fancy vacations that other people can afford? This kind of thinking is how people get sunk into heavy debts they struggle their whole life to pay off. Learn to be happy living within your means, and take pleasure in every dollar you save, in every day that you spend out from under the boot of someone else's money. Be free.[14]
As part of our debt management program, our financial counseling specialists will assist you with how to consolidate debt. Debt consolidation is an important step in lowering monthly payments to creditors and collection agencies. Unlike a debt consolidation loan, you do not borrow money. Credit card debt consolidation under a debt management plan provides you with one easy payment.
Sort your credit card interest rates from highest to lowest, then tackle the card with the highest rate first. "By paying off the balance with the highest interest first, you increase your payment on the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate while continuing to make the minimum payment on the rest of your credit cards," writes former My Money contributor Hitha Herzog.
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