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Bankruptcy Alternatives

Should you file for bankruptcy or not? This is a decision many are wrestling with. The truth is, you probably have more options than you realize. Here are six of the best:

#1) Negotiate

Initially, you should call up the companies you owe money to and attempt to arrange an alternative payment plan. In many instances, they will be willing to work with you.

#2) Hire a credit counselor

This is more effective than the first option unless you are a master negotiator. Sure it’s more expensive, but it’s usually much more effective. And in most instances, your creditors are more willing to work with a legitimate company than an individual.

What will they do for you?

They help work out a more favorable repayment plan. Sometimes these firms will only deal with unsecured obligations.

What’s a “more favorable plan?"

They generally attempt to do either one of three things: get the grand total reduced, get better interest rates, or lengthen the amount of time you can pay it back by. All of these will make the payments easier to deal with.

How do the counselors determine who they will work with?

They will want to know how much money you make, and they have to know this to figure out if you can pay off your debts with the new terms.

So if they decide not to work with you, do you have to file bankruptcy? Not necessarily. There are still more options.

#3) Get a debt consolidation loan

This is where you take out a loan for the amount of your home’s value in order to reduce your debt. Obviously, you stand to lose your house if you can’t pay your debt. Therefore you need to think long and hard about this. It is worth speaking to a certified professional before making such a big decision.

For some, having a monthly loan payment is much more manageable than credit card debt. This is because the interest is applied all at the beginning, so it doesn’t keep accruing.

#4) Lower your expenses

This is the simplest and easiest method. Just take a very close look at where your money is going.

Check your credit card for the past month and notice the charges. Cancel any monthly payments from companies you aren’t using. Chances are, there are more than a few in this category. Focus on the big expenses because those are the ones that are making the most difference.

#5) Sell nonessential items

Think about getting rid of that second car you own. Consider taking out the money in an investment portfolio and using that to pay things off. Sell your TV. All these things can make a big difference.

#6) Get a loan from a loved one

This is obviously not a good option for everyone, but it may be the right thing to do in some cases.

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