Pros And Cons Of Debt Settlement

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Debt Settlement -- Why The Critics Are Wrong
By Ricky Balboa
Sep 9, 2010
A lot more people are becoming interested in debt settlement as an alternative to bankruptcy. That's because a new bankruptcy law was enacted on October 17, 2005, which means a rude awakening for many consumers seeking a fresh start in bankruptcy court.

It used to be that 7 out of 10 people filing personal bankruptcy were granted Chapter 7 status, where the unsecured debts are totally wiped away. That has changed under the new rules. If your income is above the median for your state, or you can pay back at least $100 per month toward your debts, then you'll be turned down for Chapter 7. Instead, you'll be shifted into Chapter 13, where you pay back a portion of the debt
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When the court calculates your allowable living expenses, it will use the approved IRS schedules, not your actual documented expenses. So even if you don't think you can pay $100 a month or more, the judge will probably disagree. Instead of a fresh start, many people will be faced with the grim reality of a harsh 5-year plan, on a court-mandated budget that forces them to adopt a much lower standard of living. That's where debt settlement starts to look pretty attractive.

Yes, I know debt settlement has its critics. I've criticized aspects of the industry myself. But what the critics don't seem to understand is that this approach is for people who would otherwise go bankrupt! Let's examine the three main complaints against debt settlement and see where the critics are missing the mark.

"Debt settlement has a negative impact on your credit score."

Wow. Big deal! Pretend it's two years from now. Would you rather have an A+ credit rating or be totally free of debt? Pick one please, because you can't have both. All debt reduction programs have a negative impact on credit scores. That's why only people who truly can't keep up with their bills should go into one of these programs. But it's pointless to worry about your credit while you're being crushed with debt. That's like worrying about how the yard looks after your house has burned
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You keep control over the process more than with any other approach.

4. You maintain personal privacy. With bankruptcy, your case file becomes a matter of public record, easily located via Internet search by future employers, landlords, or creditors.

5. You retain your dignity while working through your financial problems. Bankruptcy still feels like failure to a lot of people. Debt settlement represents an honest and ethical alternative to that extreme solution.

6. You can adjust your monthly funding into the settlement program up or down depending on real-world conditions in your financial life. If your income fluctuates from one month to the next, or you get hit with an unexpected expense, it won't torpedo the whole program. The built-in flexibility of debt settlement gives it a huge advantage over other options, all of which require a fixed monthly payment.

Once you're made the determination that debt settlement makes sense for your situation, you'll need to decide whether to go it alone or seek professional assistance. For people who aren't easily intimidated, there's no question that the do-it-yourself approach is the way to go. For others who can't handle the least bit of pressure or just want to focus their time and energy elsewhere, hiring a professional settlement company may be the correct
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