DebtConsolidation.LifeTips.com Exclusively Sponsored by Category: Bad Credit Tips Subcategory: Tips About Bad Credit Tip: Finding Bad Credit Loans Without Bad Credit Rates For whatever reasons, many people find themselves in trouble with their credit. Whether because of late bills, unpaid hospital fees, or any number of other reasons, maybe your credit score is hurting as well. If this is the case and you want to do what you can to get back on top of your credit, bad credit loans are available to help. Usually, bad credit loans come with very high interest rates. Because of the bad credit, lenders look at you with a higher risk. They balance this higher risk with higher rates. However, there are bad credit loans out there that do not have ‘bad credit rates'. The trick is finding these loans and then never missing a single payment. Speak with a professional about a decent rate on bad credit loans. If your credit was only poor because of something that has been settled, the lender will often take a chance on you with a better rate. The mainstay with these loans is that they will be far stricter when it comes to repayment. Often, if you miss a single payment, the rate will either skyrocket or the loan may even be foreclosed on. If you are lucky enough to get a good rate on a bad credit loan, do not make the mistake of messing it up with a late payment. Start by looking to local lenders and the Internet to find bad credit loans that you can qualify for. Once you find somewhere that you know you can work with, get more in depth as far as requesting a lower rate. If you find the right place, it may be easier than you think to get good rates on bad credit loans. Tip: Refinancing a Bad Credit Loan If you had bad credit in a previous time and were forced to take on a bad credit loan with a high interest rate, the time is now to rid yourself of it. Assuming you have repaired your credit, you can now refinance your bad credit loan into a lower rate and better terms. Here are a few places to start when it comes to refinancing a bad credit loan. Start with the lender that issues you the bad credit loan in the first place. If they were willing to invest in you when you had bad credit, than they will love to work with you now that it is repaired. There are often rewards for such a scenario offered by many bad credit loan specialists. Simply get in touch with your current loan representative to see what they can offer you. If your current lender doesn't work out, don't worry. Get online and start getting quotes on a bad credit loan refinance from independent lenders like our sponsors. You will find that with good credit, lenders like ones found online will line up to give you a great rate and super terms. Make sure you have your current loan information prepared for them so that they can provide you with a savings comparison after your refinance. Refinancing a bad credit loan is easy once you have fixed your credit. Make sure that your credit is back to where it should be by getting a free credit report or using a credit monitoring service from any number of providers. Once you have your credit straightened out, get rid of that bad credit loan rate and start saving. Category: Credit Card Debt Consolidation Tips Subcategory: Credit Card Debt Tips Tip: 3 Ways to Eliminate Credit Card Debt Make Double Payments – Once people realize that their minimum monthly payment on their credit card does not include any payment towards their principal, they see why they can never seem to eliminate their credit card debt. A good way to counter this is to make double payments each month of the minimum payment. The very least you should do to eliminate credit card debt is to pay at least as much principal as you do interest each month. A double payment will do just that for you. Consolidation – A common way to eliminate credit card debt is through consolidation. Whether you use a new credit card or another means of borrowing the finds, consolidation can help you get a better grip on all of your debt payments as one. When you have a single payment, it is not only easier to manage, but also easier to make extra payments because most consolidated credit card debt will now have a lower interest rate. Stop Using Your Cards – If you are trying each month to chip into your credit card debt but cant seem to get anywhere, I may know why. You may even be making extra payments each month and you still cant make a dent. Chances are you are still actually using the card. This is the problem. If you were able to spend more on your payments than you spend with your card than you wouldn't be in this tight spot now, right? So why are you still using the card? Cut it up and work on the cash in your pocket and bank accounts until you have fully been able to eliminate credit card debt. Tip: Get Free - Eliminate Credit Card Debt Are you tired of paying so much in interest on your credit cards each month? Most of us are not able to carry ‘zero balances' and actually accrue a ton of interest every day. Then, at the end of each month, we pay only a tiny bit more than our interest alone, if any. This will never help us eliminate credit card debt. However, we all need to re-think things and start looking for any ways we can to eliminate credit card debt. To eliminate credit card debt, you must take action. Nobody is just going to come along and offer it to you. Credit cards are a big business and your interest is just one of millions making up one of the largest industries in the world. To start taking action, check with a debt relief agency. These places are popping up in a lot of places because of the very problems I just mentioned. More people want to take action to eliminate credit card debt, so certain professionals have responded by opening these agencies. The most important action you need to take to eliminate credit card debt is to not use your credit cards. Credit cards were not created for everyday purchases. To think of what people will use them for makes most people in previous generations laugh. Unless you stop using your cards, you will be forever going uphill in your efforts to eliminate your credit card debt. Take action! Eliminate credit card debt for yourself and get free from paying so much each month. Tip: How Credit Card Debt Affects Your Credit Report The major credit agencies all evaluate a person's credit in roughly the same fashion. The problem is, most people are not aware of how any of them do it. If you want to know how things such as credit card debt can affect your credit report, here is a quick breakdown of that aspect, specifically. First, credit card debt is not necessarily a bad thing on your credit report. The real question to the credit bureaus is how much credit card debt do you have compared to your available credit. Let's say you have 3 credit cards with a total of $10,000 in credit lines. Let's also figure that those three cards carry a total of $5,000 in credit card debt. You would be better off in this scenario than if you had 3 cards with a total of only $5,000 in credit lines and were maxed out at the whole $5,000. Having available credit from your credit lines, even in the face of credit card debt, will help you keep from having your score hurt too badly. The key to keeping your credit card debt from hurting your credit report is to either pay it off, or never max your lines out. Tip: Managing Your Credit Card Debt If you are like a great percentage of Americans, you are probably burdened by credit card debt. Credit cards have become far more than what they were initially conceived for. Today, people will whip out their Visa or Mastercard for anything, not just those large or emergency purchases that really need it. A big reason for this is the ‘rewards' that many cards now offer. No matter how good you think you have it with your credit cards, you will be better off by properly managing your credit card debt. One of the best ways to manage your credit card debt is to keep your eye on your interest rate. If you currently are carrying a fair amount of debt on a single or multiple credit cards with high interest rates, you may be able to consolidate them all onto a single, lower interest card. Today, you can even find zero percent interest offers from major banks and credit card companies. Personally, I am kind of tired of finding them in my mailbox. The trick with credit card debt is in the interest fees. Most people do not realize that the minimum payment on a credit card is only based on the interest accrued. Therefore, if you never make extra payments, you will never truly reduce your credit card debt. By consolidating into a lower card, you can have lower monthly payments which will allow you to make bigger payments towards your principal balance. Managing you credit card debt can be easy or it can be hard. To be safe, do what you can to always pay off your balances and never find yourself in any serious credit card debt. Tip: Using a HELOC for Credit Card Debt Consolidation If you are a homeowner burdened with credit card debt, you may be able to relieve yourself from those monthly payments by using a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) for credit card debt consolidation. Today, HELOCs have interest rates that very few credit card companies can offer. If you have established equity in your home, chances are you can make that equity work for you by using to pay off your credit card debt. Many people think of credit card debt consolidation only as taking on a new card to consolidate others. However, credit cards are not the only money that is there for borrowing. The security of borrowing your consolidation funds from the equity in your home means that it will be paid back at some time. Even if you wait until you move or sell your home, those funds will be repaid. However, if you use a single credit card for credit card debt consolidation, you may never actually pay it off. Talk with a mortgage broker or lending website if you have some built up home equity as well as credit card debt. Credit card debt consolidation could be the best financial move you ever make. Category: Credit Counseling Tips Subcategory: Consumer Credit Counseling Tips Tip: Benefits of Consumer Credit Counseling At the heart of the word ‘consumer' is the idea of spending money. Unfortunately, this spending can get out of hand and the word ‘consumer' will quickly translate into ‘debtor'. Most of the time, these debts are drawn out over long periods of time before they are ever paid of. If you want to avoid taking many years to pay off debts that only took minutes to accumulate, you should get the help of a consumer credit counseling company. Consumer credit counseling is beneficial to everyone. From the wealthy to the poor, consumer credit counseling can save you money on your monthly payments as well as help you get a real plan to eventually eliminate your debt. Among the major benefits of these services are the knowledge and experience that these counselors bring to the table. Through training and previous experience, these credit specialists have seen almost every scenario possible. From great management to the worst, there are always ways that they can help improve you financial fitness. Another great advantage to working with a consumer credit counseling company is that they will often guarantee to better your situation. If possible, these firms will vastly improve your state of debt and if they cannot, there will be no fees for their time. How can you lose? There are only benefits to be gained by consulting a consumer credit counselor. If you feel you have room to improve, get with a counselor today and don't spend another day without optimum credit and debt management. Tip: Better Debt Management with the Help of Credit Counseling Are you bogged down by debt that never seems to get lower? Many people face this same problem and never find a way out. The wise person takes control of their financial future by learning how to better manage their debt. Most of these success stories come after meeting with a debt management credit counseling firm or specialist. Debt management credit counseling can help you in many different areas, but specifically in terms of managing your debt. By examining your debt scenario, a professional counselor can suggest ways to decrease your debt and, eventually, rid yourself of it. Ways may include re-investment of funds, refinancing of current balances, or even consolidation. No matter the suggestions, most of the time these debt management credit counseling specialists can hit the nail right on the head and vastly improve your debt situation. If your debt is out of hand and you want to take back control, speak with a debt management credit counseling specialist as soon as you can. They will help you see pathways to getting debt free that you may have never thought of. You can find many firms online and locally who can help. The important thing is to find one and listen to their advice. It could make a world of difference in your future. Tip: Consumer Credit Counseling for Senior Citizens One of the most respected groups of people in the United States are senior citizens, and rightly so. The respect for seniors translates into services that go beyond the call to assist them. Credit counseling is one of these services that they can take advantage of to manage their money in retirement or towards the end of their working career. If you are a senior citizen looking for help from consumer credit counseling, here are a few places to search. First, the AARP has become one of the largest lobbies in the world. The influence that they have has benefited seniors for decades. When it comes to consumer credit counseling for seniors, the AARP has vast resources, specifically geared for the needs of senior citizens. You can see what the AARP can offer by going to their website here: www.aarp.org/money/ Another great resource for senior citizens looking for consumer credit counseling is the entire Internet. There are many consumer credit counseling companies that exclusively work with senior citizens. The Internet can show you the way to many of these companies by using any of the major search engines. Performing only a few simple keyword searches can bring back thousands of results that fit your needs. No matter where you go for help, be sure to get it from someone you can trust. Organizations such as the AARP have established the largest trust among senior citizens, but there are many other companies that want to earn your trust as well. Consult with a few to see all of your options. Tip: Credit and Debt Counseling for the Average Joe or Jane The average person today has decent credit and few problems managing their debt. Therefore, they fall into the belief that there is little or no room for improvement in their financial situation. Most couldn't be more wrong. You see, even the average person would benefit greatly from credit and debt counseling to improve their scores and reduce their debt. Comfort is what keeps most of us from seeking out this help. But you shouldn't wait until you are uncomfortable to get it. Finding credit and debt counseling is easy today with the advantages that the Internet provides. You can almost instantly get a plethora of companies that want to offer their assistance in credit and debt counseling. Any reputable company will offer you a free analysis of your current situation to show you if and where improvements can be made. What do you have to lose? Nothing. What do you have to gain? More financial independence. Seems like a win-win situation to me. If you are like the average person and haven't thought much about improving your financial situation with the help of credit and debt counseling, think harder on it. Chances are that you could be in a far better situation with just a little help from professionals. Check with our sponsors and other credit and debt counseling services to see how you can change your financial future. Tip: Finding a Consumer Credit Counseling Service When exactly did you realize that you don't pay enough attention to your credit and debt? If you are like most, it happened right around the time you did not qualify for that super low rate on a mortgage or car loan. This is unfortunate for most, but it can actually be the best thing that happens to you. Only after getting this type of disappointing information will most people seek out a consumer credit counseling service to get back control over their credit. If you want to find a consumer credit counseling service, here are a few places to start looking. First, do you know anyone who has had similar problems? Perhaps they have spoken with a consumer credit counseling service and can recommend one. When you are dealing with such important personal information, it is essential to trust the people you work with. Referrals from people you trust are the best way to start. Maybe all of your friends and family have great credit and have never needed any help. If this is the case, you can search the Internet for a consumer credit counseling service that fits your needs. Be sure to verify that they have good reviews from places such as the BBBOnline (Better Business Bureau). These resources can save you from getting in with the wrong people. There are plenty of consumer credit counseling services that you can contact on the Web, so look around for a while before settling on a single one. No matter where you find one, you should consult with a consumer credit counseling service if you believe your credit can be improved or your debt better managed. These professionals can help if you just start the ball rolling and contact one. Tip: How to Know if You Need Credit and Debt Counseling The main reason that most consumers fail to get help with their credit and debt is because they do not believe that they need to. If you think you may benefit from credit and debt counseling but are not convinced, here are a few ways to know if you could benefit. Do you carry multiple debts from multiple creditors? If this is the case, chances are you would benefit from credit and debt counseling. Most counselors can show you unique ways to consolidate these multiple debts into a single, more manageable debt scenario. Have you had trouble qualifying for a loan? If you have tried buying a car or getting a mortgage recently and did not qualify for the lowest rates available then you would definitely benefit from credit and debt counseling. These low rates are reserved for the best credit ratings. Just because you couldn't qualify now does not mean it is the end of the world. As long as you take advantage of credit and debt counseling to repair your problems, you will qualify for that rate soon enough. Are you having trouble making your monthly payments? Most people who have trouble with their monthly payments don't have trouble because they do not earn enough. Usually, these troubles are rooted in high interest rates and large minimum payments. Credit and debt counseling can find ways to move your debts around and get you more manageable payments each month. If you fall into any of these categories, or even if you just feel like you could use the help, find a company that can offer you credit and debt counseling and at least see what they have to say. Isn't a short amount of time listening worth more than a long length of time spending more than you should? Tip: Professional Credit Counseling – Worth the Time Credit can rule a person's financial life. It is up to you as to how it will rule yours. Will your credit help you get into that dream house and car or keep you out of them? Most people do not have a full understanding of how credit works and what goes into a credit report. Luckily, there are professionals who specialize in credit counseling who can help make sense of it all. Professional credit counseling is an industry built on never ending demand. There will always be the need for assistance understanding what most people cannot. The benefits of professional credit counseling can be enormous. People with low credit scores can take advantage of credit counseling to help repair any credit problems. These professionals know how to read a credit report and they know what to look for in terms of repairs. If you are thinking about getting some credit counseling because of a low credit score, it is absolutely worth the time and, sometimes, the costs. Yes, there are often fees associated with professional credit counseling. However, when you consider the savings that can come from a better credit score and the ability to qualify for lower rates in the future, these fees are usually a pittance compared to the value they bring. Tip: Worried About Identity Theft? Speak To a Credit Counseling Specialist One of the greatest concerns among consumers today is identity theft. With the age of information, the Internet, and the like, getting a hold of a person's most secure information is far easier than any time in the past. Some people have taken advantage of this in a devious way. If you think you may have fallen victim to identity theft, find a credit counseling company that can help you get to the root of the problem. Identity theft is easy enough to sniff out after it has happened. Professional credit counseling firms know how to swiftly analyze your credit report to look for irregularities that are tell tale signs of identity theft. Hopefully, you will find that you were not a victim. However, if you were, these credit counseling companies can not only identify the problem, but they can help remedy it as well. Credit counseling companies know the contacts and procedures that are necessary to report and repair the effects of identity theft. If you have been a victim, each day that passes could further harm your credit worthiness. Don't waste any more time. Find a credit counseling company today that can help you ensure that you have not been victimized and can help protect you in the future. Category: Debt Consolidation Services Subcategory: Debt Consolidation Services Tip: Paying Down Debts is a Priority It's important to understand that the overall goal of a good debt consolidation company is to make sure you are debt free as soon as possible. On average, most individuals on repayment plans with debt consolidation companies typically pay off their debts within 24-36 months. These programs are only as good as you make them. If you work hard, and are focused on paying down your debt, you may be able to pay off your debts quicker than the average 36 months. But it does take work and dedication. These organizations really want to help you, so give them the courtesy of a call if you find yourself falling behind. Tip: Set Up a Payment Plan Although the ultimate goal of a reputable credit counseling service is to help its participants, there may be some instances and situations where they just may not be able to help you. If after looking at your financial situation the credit counselor determines it will take more than five years to cure your debts, they probably will not offer you a repayment plan. But this is not the end of the road. You may still be able to work out a repayment plan with your creditors. Contact your creditors and advise them of your current situation. This is not a time to be embarrassed or hide behind your pride. Full disclosure is the name of the game, and will take you further instance. Let your creditors know that you have every intention to repay what you owe. Your primary responsibility is to call your creditors to determine if they offer any time of repayment plans. Most do, and you may not know unless you call. If you are behind on your bills, and haven't picked up the phone, do not wait another minute. Call them today. Category: Debt Loan Tips Subcategory: Loans and Debt Tips Tip: Avoid Adjustable Interest Rates Loan interest rates have an uncanny way of climbing higher and higher, even when interest rates seem like they have reached the highest they can possibly go. It is best to avoid the hassle which comes with a fluctuating interest rate and instead go with a fixed rate, otherwise you may find youself with a monthly payment which is considerably more than you originally budgeted for. Although it is true that fixed rates are usually higher in the beginning, at least you know where you stand. Tip: Fixed Rates for Bad Debt Loans – The Answer If you are in the same kind of debt that most people are, you aren't paying much towards the actual debt, but rather to the interest that is accruing all the time on that debt. If you are interested in getting rid of your bad debt, loans with fixed rates are the answer for you. Most debt today is placed on variable interest rates that start out high, and keep getting higher. A bad debt loan with a fixed interest rate offers you the feeling of security that you have a low rate, and it will never go higher. If you are interested in debt loans with fixed interest rates, your best place to start is on the Internet. There are many new online lenders that offer debt loans at very low, fixed interest rates. Getting in touch with one is as easy as checking your email. Simply check with either our sponsors or any other online lending institutions and they can steer you in the right direction. Most of the time, you can get quotes of debt loans with fixed interest rates in a matter of hours. Do yourself a favor. Stay away from variable interest debt in the future. Once you get a fixed interest debt loan and you know what it feels like to pay the same amount each month, you will agree that you should never go back to a variable rate. Tip: Get Preapproved for a Car Loan Don't trust the dealership when they say they can offer you the best rates. Walk onto the lot with an approved loan in hand and you'll find the process of buying a car much more enjoyable. With a check in hand from your lender, you are able to tell the dealer exactly how much you are willing to pay for a car. Many times the dealer will knock thousands of dollars off the cost of the car if you have a check ready. If the dealer can get you approved for a lower rate than what you already have, then that's even better. Tip: Loans and Debt – A Careful Balance The balance in most people's lives between loans and debt is one that is often way out of kilter. If you are like most people, all it can take to throw this even further off is one purchase or one emergency. Don't stay in this state forever. Do whatever you can to maintain a good balance between loans and debt by refraining from using one to sustain the other. Taking out loans for debt often feels like a never ending cycle. To keep this under control, first you need to get a good look at your situation. Are you paying higher interest rates on loans that should be lower? How long have you had the oldest debt on your books? Have you made any headway over the last year? Two years? Five years? Most people are astonished when they ask these questions to see that, often, their loans and debt are even higher than they were 5 years before. When the balance is thrown off, it will continue that way until you take action. To get out of this cycle, pay the principle balances on your loans and debts early and often. Make extra payments if you have to, but do not let yourself get ‘upside down' when it comes to your loans and debt. Pay close attention to your interest, your balances, and your payments to ensure that you are actually paying down your debt and not just stretching it out. Category: Finding a Bankruptcy Alternative Subcategory: Bankruptcy Alternative Tips Tip: Debt Consolidation as a Personal Bankruptcy Alternative Many people choose to file bankruptcy because they feel that they owe too much money to too many people. This alone should never be the reason for filing for bankruptcy. With the low interest rates on the market today, debt consolidation has become a great personal bankruptcy alternative. Here is a quick breakdown of how consolidation may help you avoid filing for bankruptcy. Most in this situation have had problems making payments to their current creditors. This is understandable for someone who has to meet several monthly payments at differing interest rates. However, if you choose consolidation as a personal bankruptcy alternative, you can move those several payments into a single, more manageable payment. It is far easier to manage your money when you know exactly what your one payment will be each month. There are many lenders who are specializing in debt consolidation as a personal bankruptcy alternative. When you file for bankruptcy, everyone loses, in a sense. When lenders help you consolidate, your creditors get paid, you keep your credit worthiness for the future, and the new lender keeps everyone happy. Before you choose to file for personal bankruptcy, consult with a lending specialist who can show you how consolidation may help your case. If it does, then you will find that it was worth the effort. Tip: Filing Bankruptcy with the Help of an Attorney Unfortunately, many people are left with no other solution to their debt problems besides filing bankruptcy. If you happen to be in this situation, you should consult with and retain an attorney to ensure that the filing is done correctly. Filing for bankruptcy is a last resort solution and can have long-lasting negative effects on your credit. If done incorrectly, those effects will only be worse. A bankruptcy attorney has the experience and knowledge that you need to get your filing submitted correctly. This expertise comes at a cost, but for the average person who has little idea how to go about filing bankruptcy, these fees are necessary. Nobody should go blindly into bankruptcy and a good attorney will help keep your eyes open. Filing bankruptcy does not have to mean the end of your financial future. In fact, if done correctly, it should be a whole new start. To find a bankruptcy attorney in your area, contact your state Bar Association for references. Every state Bar registers the attorneys that work in their state. You should always choose a bankruptcy attorney that is Bar accredited and has great references. Bankruptcy filings are public record, so you can easily track recent bankruptcy filings to see attorneys that are local to you. Check your newspaper for these. Remember, filing bankruptcy is a last resort and should always be handled with the help of a professional. This process is supposed to give you a new start, so don't fall further behind by neglecting to get the help you need. Tip: Finding an Alternative to Filing Bankruptcy Nothing can hurt your future credit worthiness like a bankruptcy filing. You could miss an entire year's worth of monthly credit card payments and you still wouldn't do half of the damage of a bankruptcy filing. Due to the seriousness of this action, you should seek out an alternative to filing bankruptcy until you find one that suits you. Here are some places to start. First, why are you thinking of filing? If it is because of unmanageable debt, you can speak with a debt and credit counselor about how to get your finances back under control. The main alternative to filing bankruptcy is to keep your finances under control and these people can give you the roadmap to success. Another place to find alternatives to filing bankruptcy is the Internet. As you have found this piece of information, there are thousands more that come from banks and lawyers who want to show you these alternatives. Take the time to find out what these places can offer you in terms of a plan to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Finding an alternative to filing bankruptcy is as easy or as hard as you make it. If you choose to go it alone, it will be very difficult. If you are smart, you will enlist the help of professionals who know how this system works and can get you back on track without the need to take the ultimate penalty. Tip: Liquidation as an Alternative to Filing Bankruptcy Over the course of any life, we all acquire things that have assigned values. Cars, homes, furniture, or even electronics hold a value for a long time. If you are in the midst of a financial crisis and are looking for an alternative to filing bankruptcy, liquidation of these assets may provide you with the breathing room you need. Liquidation is the process of selling off assets for cash. In this case, you would be liquidating your assets to pay off your creditors. Ironically, some of your creditors are most likely assigned to many of these assets. The easiest way to pay off a car loan is to sell the car. Even if you cannot get the whole value you need, every dollar you can accumulate will help. I am not suggesting that you put your dining room set on eBay or anything. There are certain things that one simply will never part with or cannot part with. However, when evaluating an alternative to filing bankruptcy it is important to remember that you could lose much of this stuff should you need to file for bankruptcy. If you would lose your car in a bankruptcy filing, why not just sell it now and use that money to avoid the bankruptcy. You will still be without a car, but you will retain your credit score. Liquidation as an alternative to bankruptcy is about prioritizing your assets. Which can you live with or cannot live without? Ask yourself this question about all of your possessions and you may be able to generate enough money to fend off bankruptcy at least a little while longer. Subcategory: Finding a Bankruptcy Alternative Tip: Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Unlike Chapter 7 where your debts are completely removed, Chapter 13 involves reorganization of your debts. A proposal outlining your plan for repayment will need to be filed with the bankruptcy court. This proposal may need final approval from the judge and the trustee. If your proposal is accepted, for three to five years your wages will probably be garnished. The courts will determine how much of your debts you will have to pay. Some courts don't require you to pay anything on debts that you are not legally required to pay in full, while others would like for you to pay as much as possible. You may be required to pay several years of interest to compensate your creditors for the fact that that they have to wait several years to be paid in full. If you want to keep all of your assets such as your home or car, you must pay all of your missed payments. Each state has its own laws on repayment of nonexempt property. Prior to filing for bankruptcy its important to know which debts you cannot walk away from. These debts include: Child support Certain taxes owed Most student loans Debts you do not list on your bankruptcy papers. Traffic tickets and other fines/penalties for breaking the law. Tip: Consider a Home Equity Loan Before contemplating filing for bankruptcy or reaching into your 401(k), getting a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) or a Home Equity Loan may be a better option for you. This is an especially good option if you have significant equity in your home. A HELOC is similar to a credit card. Your bank approves you for a predetermined amount, of which you can take the entire amount up front or make withdrawals periodically. Just like a credit card, the more you pay down, the more credit you have available to you. There interest in on a HELOC is typically lower than that of a Home Equity Loan, and may be tax deductible. However these rates can be variable, meaning they may change over time and could possibly increase. A Home Equity Loan is similar to a HELOC, except for the fact that you get the lump sum upfront, and the interest rate is fixed. So the monthly payments stay the same for the life of the loan. Most individuals use home equity loans when they are trying to consolidate other high interest debts such as credit cards. If you have decent credit, and enough equity in your home, then either of the aforementioned products could work for you. Many banks offer these products so do the research to make sure you select the bank and loans that fits your needs. Tip: The Right Mix of Debt Before hitting the brink of bankruptcy, it is important to get real with yourself, and understand what kind of debts you have. Unfortunately, the amount of personal debt in this country is ever growing, and that is due in large part to the ease in which credit can be obtained. Debt is the ugly side of the credit coin. There is no secret to understanding your spending habits. If you can pay cash for something, in most cases you can afford it. If you find yourself always reaching for plastic, chances are you can't afford it. When you make purchases on a credit card for items that you know that you would not ordinarily be able to afford, that is an example of bad debt. Putting that flat screen T.V. on your store card, is also an example of bad debt. Essentially if you are borrowing to pay for your lifestyle, that is bad debt. So what is good debt? Good debt is an investment that at the end of the day will create value. For example, student loans are considered good debt. Some of you may argue otherwise, but a student loan is an investment in your education. As a result of your college education, you earned a degree that would lead you to a better paying job or profession. Another example of good debt is the purchase of your home as a primary residence. This is a good investment, because homes typically appreciate over time. Unfortunately many people were swept up in the housing boom of a couple of years ago, and purchased homes as investments. Purchasing a home as an investment tool, is almost as bad as having bad debt. So its important to be able to draw a distinction between what is considered good debt, and what is considered bad debt. Category: Finding Debt Help Subcategory: Debt Consultation Tips Tip: Finding Debt Solutions Available to You Every person has a unique financial situation. This especially applies to debt problems. The differences in debt problems have led to a multitude of debt solutions that are available from professionals. How do you know which debt solutions are available to you? The answer is usually found after consulting with several of these professionals. Only a professional debt analyst can look at your situation and offer you the right debt solution to fit your needs. Stay objective when listening to the debt solutions offered from professionals. Some may seem very drastic and others may seem to make little difference. However, these people know what they are doing and if you are serious about finding the best debt solutions available to you, you will listen to what each have to offer. Many people let their emotions get the better of them when trying to deal with debt problems. It is the objective ones that spend less time thinking about their debt problems and more time successfully seeking out debt solutions. Let professionals help locate the best debt solutions for you. Do not hold back any information that should be included in your analysis as this might prevent certain solutions from being revealed. Once you have heard all of the debt solutions that can be offered, you should have little trouble choosing the best options for you and moving towards a debt free life. Category: Getting a Debt Consolidation Loan Subcategory: Debt Consolidation Loan Tips Tip: 3 Tips to Selecting Debt Consolidation Services References – As with any financial decision, you should research the people or business that you are going to trust with your most secure information. When it comes to debt consolidation services, you can get all the information you need from places like the Better Business Bureau and you State departments dealing with lending and credit. Be sure to double and triple check these references before getting involved with anyone providing debt consolidation services. Comparisons – Many people choose to go with the first quote that they get for debt consolidation services. They may never know that they could have saved more than they did. Debt consolidation is a very competitive industry and you can often get better rate quotes just by getting more than one. Let the second guy know what the first guy offered and chances are they will do whatever they can to beat it. The Bottom Line – In the end, debt consolidation services serve only one purpose, saving you money. No matter what other factors come into play, you should go with the option that will save you the most for the long term. Steer clear of any frilly loans with introductory APRs and the like. For the best long term savings, go with the overall savings for the life of your loans. The goal of it all is to get yourself out of debt as quickly as possible and to have it cost you as little as possible. Tip: Benefits of a Debt Consolidation Loan Many people carry multiple mortgages, car loans, and other financed loans for many years not realizing that they are paying more than necessary each month. All of these people are missing out on the benefits of debt consolidation loans. A debt consolidation loan is just as it sounds. You can take out a single, large loan with which you can pay off all of your other outstanding debts. By obtaining a debt consolidation loan, you will be required to spend less each month while still paying down your balance. The reason that a debt consolidation loan saves you money is two fold. First, a typical debt consolidation loan has a much lower interest rate than a credit card or auto loan. You will cut your interest rate across the board with a low interest debt consolidation loan. Second, these types of loans will usually have an extended payoff term. Sometimes, as with a mortgage, you can pay the debt off over up to 30 years. Lower interest plus longer payoff equals lower monthly payments. To find out if a debt consolidation loan would help you better manage your debt, consult with a financial specialist from a local bank or internet lender. You can get several competitive quotes in just a few minutes by visiting websites such as our sponsor's. Don't spend another day spending more than you should. Look into a debt consolidation loan for you. Tip: Bill Consolidation with a Home Equity Line of Credit For homeowners who have benefited from the recent boom in home values there are ways to make your home's value directly translate into you saving money. Today, many are taking advantage of low interest rate home equity lines of credit with the specific purpose of bill consolidation. Bill consolidation makes it so you only have to make a single payment each month, in this case to your home equity line. Because a home equity line of credit can be paid off over many, many years, the monthly payment is less than your total previous payments. Combine this with the low interest rates on home equity lines and your savings are compounded even further. If you are a homeowner who is also carrying many other debts, a home equity line for bill consolidation may be right for you. First, determine how much equity you have in your home. This will depend on how long you have owned your home and how much you pay towards your principal mortgage. You can get an accurate portrayal of your home equity by speaking with a mortgage specialist. After looking at other home sales in your area you can see the going rate for a house in your neighborhood. Then, you can subtract your mortgage balance from that and the remainder equals the amount of home equity you have. Now, consult a professional to see how much bill consolidation this home equity can get you. You may be able to pay off some of your bills and even all of them. You will never know exactly how much until you get started. So stop waiting and start saving. Tip: Bring it All Together with Debt Consolidation Services Most people are under the impression that debt consolidation services are only for those with home loans and car loans. The truth of the matter is that when you use debt consolidation services from most lenders, you can consolidate credit cards, medical bills, department store cards, collection agency debts, lines of credit, past-due utility bills, personal loans, repossessions and some college student loans as well as many other types of debt. If you are tired of paying for each or any of these things individually, than debt consolidation services may be for you. Beyond making the end of the month easier to bear by writing less checks, debt consolidation services can also reduce the amount that those checks have always added up to. If you have good credit and are looking to save on your bills, these types of services have been proven to save the average consumer thousands of dollars a year. Also, the average consumer can come out of debt up to 4 times faster by taking advantage of these services. I f you think debt consolidation services could help you, what are you waiting for? Get with a financial specialist who can get your consolidation into processing ASAP. Apply today and you could start saving money on all of your bills by the first of next month. Tip: Choosing a Consumer Debt Consolidation Company Choosing a professional to help with anything is an arduous task sometimes. When it comes to consumer debt consolidation companies, you should accept the difficulties because of the sensitivity of the information you are dealing with. How should you choose a company to help you? First, understand more about who they are and what you should be looking for. A consumer debt consolidation company's job is to devise a plan of action for you. They will suggest different roads, sometime including loans and other measures that may seem drastic. Often a consumer debt consolidation company will refer you to a professional credit counseling service which can better serve your needs. When you are choosing a consumer debt consolidation company, be sure to check their credentials. The Better Business Bureau rates many companies and business, including consumer debt consolidation companies. The BBB can be accessed online and lists complaints and compliments from others who have worked with the company in question. It would be wise to check out the consumer debt consolidations company rating. This is, again, ultra important due to the fact that you will be hiring someone who will have full access to all of your financial information. When choosing a consumer debt consolidation company to assist you, be sure that they come with the right credentials. If you choose poorly, you could end up living poorly for a long time. Tip: Getting a Fast Debt Consolidation Loan People who decide that it is time to start saving money usually want to start as soon as possible. When it comes to a debt consolidation loan, one of the most popular questions is “How fast will it go through?” The answer will depend greatly on where you are getting your debt consolidation loan from. It will also depend on how many different creditors and how much debt is being consolidated. For the fastest debt consolidation loans available, look to the Web. Online lenders are well knows for providing the fastest debt consolidation loans to people all over the United States. As long as you have all of your debt information ready to provide them, these lenders can take you from application to approval to disbursement in a matter of days. While major banks can keep you waiting for weeks, these online lenders have a far more streamlined underwriting system that waits for no one. If you want the fastest debt consolidation loan possible, start with online lenders who provide them. Get your information ready and your fingers ready to type it all into the forms and you can start paying less money for your bills very quickly. Tip: Now Is the Time for Debt Consolidation Anyone who watches television, reads a newspaper, or gets their headlines from the Internet has heard about the current state of interest rates. If you don't know yet, Interest rates are at close to all time lows. Yes, the lowest in history were only a short while ago, so the recent upswing has made some people think twice about debt consolidation. If you are one of these people, stop thinking and start acting. Even though rates have gone up, they are still lower than in decades. Don't wait any longer to apply for debt consolidation. Rates may keep going up and they may not, but don't get too greedy. As low as interest rates are right now, you could probably save more than enough to make it more than worth it. Take the time to consult with a professional financial analyst to see if this is the right time for you to secure a debt consolidation loan. Chances are you could start saving money by the end of next month. You can find debt consolidation specialists in your town or on the Internet. When you choose to apply for debt consolidation on the Internet you can usually get quotes from multiple lenders. This means that you can shop around for the biggest savings. What do you have to lose? Get a few quotes on your possible debt consolidation today. Category: Money Management Tips Subcategory: Debt Free Living Tips Tip: Benefits of Professional Money Management Firms Everyone likes to believe that they can handle their own finances and get the most out of their money. However, it is only after speaking with a professional money management company that these people see where they have been missing out. The truth is that your money could probably be working much harder for you. If you needed to go to court you would hire an attorney, right? Well, the same thinking should be applied to your money management. The biggest benefit to using a professional money management firm is their knowledge and experience. These firms are in business for a reason and these are the two biggest reasons. The average person simply is unaware of the many ways that their money could be better managed. From investments to savings, professional money management can open these doors to you. If you find that you have less money than you think you should each month, these people can show you why you are in that situation after a thorough analysis. Taking advantage of the knowledge that money management professionals can offer is essential for anyone looking to get the most out of every dollar. Seeing is believing when it comes to the benefits of professional money management firms. If you think you are missing out on opportunities or have just found that everyday money management has become cumbersome, consult with one of these professionals. You will be a believer in no time. Tip: Getting Through College Debt Free One of the hardest things for any college student to do is to graduate debt free. Between the college lifestyle, tuition, books, and other expenses, most of the college students today graduate and find that they have to find a job just to pay off their schooling. Seems like a terrible circle, doesn't it? Well, there are ways to come out of college debt free and here are a few tips on how. First, stay away from unnecessary student loans. When it comes to student loans, those dollar signs look so good that many students do not appreciate that they will actually have to pay them back. Because of this, students will often take out as many loans as they can get their hands on. If you want to get through college debt free, remember this – loans bad, grants good. A grant, unlike a loan, will not need to be paid back and there are grants available all over the place. Before you sign on for a student loan, look around for as many grants as you can find from local organizations and the like. Second, remember, you are in college for a reason and it is not to live in an expensive apartment or to build up bar tabs. Of course you should soak in as much of the ‘college experience' as you possibly can, but never at the expense of your financial future. Too many of those aforementioned loans are spent on shots instead of books. Keep your eye on the scholastic ball when you are in school and you have a far better chance of graduating, and doing it debt free. There are a lot of trappings in any college life. Avoid them as much as possible and you will graduate and be able to get a job for reasons other than to pay back your debts. Graduating debt free can be done with some simple planning and smart decisions. Tip: Money Management with Automatic Bill Payments For people who sometimes have a hard time making their bill payments, there is a solution. If you want to be sure to never miss another bill payment due to money management problems, look into automatic payment options from your creditors. With automatic bill payments, you can be sure that your bills are paid before you have a chance to spend the money elsewhere. Money management is harder for some than others. For people accustomed to a certain lifestyle, things like eating out and other recreational activities can chip away at your monthly budget before you know it. If you are like many and put off your bill payments, you will often be in a pinch when the time comes to actually pay them. With automatic bill payments, you can take control of your monthly money management by having the bills debited from your bank account immediately. You can even set them all to be paid on the same day so that you can get a clear picture of how much funds you have to work with for the remainder of the month. If your creditors offer it, take advantage of automatic bill payments. They will make your monthly money management far easier to handle and will keep you from ever having to check under to sofa cushions for the phone bill. Tip: Personal Money Management – Build a Plan Some things can never be planned for. You can never plan for a medical emergency or a natural disaster or any other event which can cause financial crisis. However, you can be proactive in the event that these things happen to you. Personal money management is the key to planning for that rainy day and everyone should build a plan for this worst case scenario. Having a job is not always enough to ensure you always have the money you will need. Ask yourself, what can you do with the money that you earn to prepare for a disaster? This is the essence of personal money management. Now, I am not saying that you should put every penny away for that rainy day; people should live to whatever lifestyle they prefer. But there are ways that you can build a personal money management plan that will not hamper your lifestyle in the slightest. Some people prefer to take a predetermined portion of their income and use it for savings or investment. Others simply save and invest what they can in any given month or period of time. Your personal money management plan should be built up of minimums. What is the minimum you can afford to invest or save this month? By establishing minimums, you have a baseline to work with in your personal money management. Once you have set your minimums, never go beneath them and go above them as often and by as much as you can afford. This is just the first step to personal money management. If you want to get the full picture of how you can better manage your money, consult with a professional analyst who can fill in the gaps in your planning. And, of course, stick to your plan once it is in place. Subcategory: Money Management Tips Tip: Be Crystal Clear About Your Financial Goals "One day I would like to be debt free," is not a clear goal. "Within the next week I will establish my budget, set up and automatic bill pay with my bank, and learn as much as I can about money management. Within the next two to three months, I will work with my credit card companies to get better interest rates. If they cannot accommodate me, I will transfer my balances elsewhere. By month four I will have 2 credit cards paid off, and increase my FICO score by 60 points.” The second statement is an example of a clearly identifiable and measurable goal. There is a sense of direction and purpose with the second example that is lacking in the first example. You have to be able to visualize what it is that you want to accomplish. If you need to, take a 3x5 index card, and write down five financial goals you would like to accomplish. It could be reducing your credit card debt or increasing your money management skills. You will be amazed at what happens once you clarify your goals. Achieving your goals is easier than you might think. Before you go to bed, or as soon as you wake up, take a few minutes to visualize a debt free lifestyle. Visualize being able to travel where you want, and being able to purchase what you want without having to worry about how you are going to pay for it. Now use that vision to motivate you to start saving, and paying down your debt. Tip: Establish a Budget Operating without a budget is akin to getting into a car and driving to a place you've never been before without using a road map. Most people don't establish budgets because they are either scared to face the reality of their spending habits, or think it's too difficult to establish one. Your budget is essentially a guide or a road map for your spending activities. Creating a budget is the most basic step anyone can take towards financial freedom. If you are like most people, you probably enjoy stopping at your local coffee shop in the morning before getting your day started. Do you realize just how much those daily trips cost? The reality is if you cut your visits in half, you would have a extra money in your pocket at the end of the month. That's extra money that can go towards savings or could be used to pay a bill. Just by making one small change in your daily routine, you theoretically increase your annual income by a couple thousand dollars. In order for your budget to work, it has to be realistic. You know your spending habits better than anyone else. Take a close look at your daily routine, and try to identify areas where you could possibly cut spending. If you eat out everyday, try bringing your lunch to work. Research has shown that not only is this great for your budget, but it's also good for your health. Meals prepared at home tend to be healthier than food from a fast food restaurant. Other daily or weekly routines that could be scaled back include dry cleaning, impulse buys, magazine subscriptions, and going to the movies. Cutting back some of the activities and adhering to your budget may be uncomfortable at first. However, if your goal is financial freedom or to increase your money management skills, it is incumbent on you to make some changes. Your budget will only work if you stick with it. Just like dieting, it's going to take hard work and dedication. Budgeting can be fun, especially once you start seeing the results of all of your hard work. Tip: Read the Fine Print Millions of Americans are currently living with thousands of dollars in credit card debt, and the number continues to grow daily. To compound matters, many of these individuals have been on the receiving end of doubling or tripling credit card interest rates. How does your credit card go from an interest rate of 9.49% to 24.5%? It's really quite simple. Contained in the fine print of the credit card documents that most of us never read, there is a clause that states your rate can change "at anytime for any reason". Although this may be unfair, the credit card companies are well within their rights to hike your rates. Furthermore, if you are ever or late or there is a change in your spending habits, your rate is subject to change. So what recourse do you have if your interest rate heads north? There are a few things that you can do to keep your rates from doubling. Prior to any rate change, your credit card company is required to notify you in writing of any APR changes. By doing this, you are given the opportunity to pay off your balance under the old APR. If you know for certain that you did not receive a notice about your rate increasing, contact your credit card company immediately, and request to speak to a supervisor. Calmly explain that you did not receive the letter, thus you were not given the opportunity to pay off your debt. The next step is to monitor your spending habits. Do your best to keep the balance on your credit cards to at least 30% of the available credit limit. This will demonstrate to your credit card company that you are responsible enough to manage the line of credit that has been extended to you. Tip: Research Real Estate Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions and one of the largest purchases you will likely ever make. The benefits of owning your own home are endless. Not only are there tax advantages for owning your own home, but studies show the net worth of homeowners is almost three times that of non-homeowners. Before you find your dream home, there is quite a bit of work that needs to take place before hand. Grab yourself a book and start reading! “Home Buying for Dummies” is a great book to own or read, because it is easy to follow and breaks down all of the real estate terminology and lingo. Having a basic understanding will allow you to speak intelligently to mortgage companies and realtors. As you learn more you will know what questions to ask. After you build a foundation for your real estate knowledge, and before you speak to any mortgage lenders, request a copy of your credit report from all three bureaus. Taking a look at your TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax credit reports will help you to identify any discrepancies, and your credit score will give you an idea as to what kind of rate you will qualify for. The next step is to shop around for a mortgage. Bankrate.com provides great information on current rates and information on different lenders. Once you have all of those pieces in place, it is now time to go look for a house. In addition to seeking out a realtor, look into any first time homebuyer programs offered by your city, county or state. The government makes available millions of dollars for first time homebuyers. Owning your own home is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and is something that everyone can do. The most important thing to keep in mind is to do your research! Category: Savings Tips Subcategory: Money Saving Ideas Tip: Setting Short Term and Long Term Savings Goals At the heart of any good savings plan is setting and meeting goals. If you are trying to build your savings as fast and securely as possible, you will want to set hard and fast goals for your savings. Short term goals are important so that you are always able to see your progress. Long term goals are important because they are what all of your work and short term goals will lead to. Here are some good short term and long term goals for someone looking to build their savings. Short term goals – If you are worried about having the necessary discipline to build your savings over time, short term goals are the way to eliminate those fears. Set short term goals of how much you will deposit from your pay, how much you will allocate to investment and how much to savings, and how much you want your money to build over months and individual years. These types of short term goals are easy to set, but if you do not meet them, than they were pointless. Be sure to stand by your rules and you will reach your short term goals. Long term goals – When do you plan on retiring? If you are like most people, the answer is when you have enough money. Your long term savings goals should be geared around a goal of retirement at a specific ago. By following your short term goals, you can calculate how long it will take to reach certain landmarks which make up your long term goals. Meeting your long term goals will wholly depend on meeting your short term goals, so again, stick to it. With a little planning, anyone can build savings at a realistic pace. The key is in planning accordingly and meeting your short and long term goals. Tip: Using a Compounding Savings Calculator Figuring out how much an individual can save over several years can be difficult without the help of a compounding savings calculator. A savings calculator of this kind can help you take compounding funds and interest rates into account when trying to plan for future savings goals. To use a savings calculator, you will need some information at your disposal. Here are the basics you will need to know. Starting Investment – If you are starting your savings off with a lump investment, this is the figure you will want to input here. Years – If you want to use the savings calculator to give you long term answers, you will need to input the number of years at which you wish to see totals. Additional Contributions – If you plan on making regular contributions into your savings over time, you can estimate these here. These additional contributions will compound your savings greatly.Rate of Return – What percentage rate do you anticipate gaining from your savings investment? This is essential to the savings calculator doing its job to project your future savings for you. Compounded – Will your interest be compounded annually, quarterly, monthly, or daily? This is a question easily answered by your bank or savings account holder. With all of this information at your disposal, you will have no problem navigating a savings calculator and getting a clear picture of your financial future. Tip: Using an Mortgage Savings Calculator for your Refinance If you are in the middle of a refinance loan on your home, you would benefit from a savings calculator that can evaluate the change in your bills. Before you get too deep into the lending process, get a clear picture of the differences that will be made. The best way to do this is by comparing your present bills to your new ones with a refinance savings calculator. Let's say that you presently have a mortgage and other bills that total $1000 a month. With a mortgage savings calculator, you can plug in your new mortgage rate, balance, and term of length to get a clear picture of what you are saving. This tool is invaluable when comparing the offers of different lenders looking to provide you with your refinance loan. You can find mortgage savings calculators for free on the Internet. Check out our sponsor and other lending websites to get the advantage of knowing what you are getting into with your refinance loan. Make sure that the numbers you are seeing on your estimate from your broker or loan representative match what the calculator reads. If the refinance is a smart and timely one, you will like what the savings calculator tells you. Category: Using Debt Negotiation and Arbitration Subcategory: Debt Elimination Tips Tip: Does Debt Elimination Arbitration Really Eliminate Debt? In the world of finance, there are many people who play on other people's ignorance. Some would have you believe that for the price of a penny they can get you a quarter. The most vulnerable people to these types of claims are those that are experiencing financial difficulties already. When facts are twisted around, some people make poor decisions that they can never recover from. For those that have debt problems and are thinking about going through arbitration to reduce the debt, often they are the prey of these types of predators. Many will offer services advertised as debt elimination arbitration and people will believe that they can just convince their creditors to eliminate their debts. The truth of the matter is that the only way to get out of your debts without paying at least something for them is bankruptcy, and those that fall for these types of false advertisements learn that very quickly afterwards. Debt elimination arbitration is really just like any other form of arbitration. Two sides have their cases heard and an independent third part will provide a resolution. In these types of procedures, you can usually reduce debt substantially. However, eliminating debt through arbitration is more a part of bankruptcy proceedings than anything else. If you are looking into debt arbitration services, stay away from those who claim to provide debt elimination arbitration. They may be able to eliminate some, but not all of your debt, and is that what you thought you were getting? Tip: Finding Debt Negotiation and Settlement Services Having to negotiate with creditors can stem from many causes. Whether it is due to a bankruptcy filing, or for consolidation purposes, the process is one that requires professional attention. If you are seeking debt negotiation and settlement professionals to represent you, here are some places you can find them. Professionals who provide debt negotiation and settlement services typically take the form of attorneys. Because of the laws and contracts involved in these proceedings, attorneys have the most knowledge that can be applied. To find an attorney that specializes in debt negotiation and settlements, you can contact you state Bar association. A faster, more practical way to find this type of help is on the Internet. With the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN Search, you can find experts that are available in your area. Depending on your state's guidelines, you may not need a local representative, but it is usually best to meet face to face in these situations. Either way, search the Internet for keywords like your city or state along with the phrase debt negotiation and you will find plenty of results. Another great place to find debt negotiation and settlement professionals is through credit counseling services. Credit counselors can often even help you through the proceedings. However, if your situation requires legal assistance, these two professions are networked together so that your counselor can point you towards good representation. Protect yourself and look out for your interests in debt negotiation and settlement proceedings. The best way to do it is with the help of a professional who has been there before and been successful for previous clients. Tip: Getting a Reasonable Settlement in Debt Elimination Arbitration Fixing debt problems is never easy. One of the ways that people attempt to resolve their debts is through debt elimination arbitration. It is important to understand that not all of your debt will be eliminated through this process, but a great portion of it can be. If you want to get a reasonable settlement from your debt elimination arbitration, stay reasonable yourself. Most creditors will want you to settle for the first thing that they offer. Sometimes it really is the best offer you will get. However, with the help of a professional you can usually get it even a little better. Let's say that you do get a decent offer right off the bat and you are wary of hiring a professional to help you get it lower. Ask yourself if it will be worth it to pay for help that may not even pay for itself in benefits. Usually a professional can help you get a better negotiation, but if you want to go for it on your own you will still get some sort of resolve. What really matters is that the settlement that you reach will release you from the pressures of your current situation.