Compare Your Options

…then make your decision.

There are 5 possible options to get out of debt.

…but first, here’s the single most important reason why you NEED to be out of debt:

This graph shows you why you need to be debt free. This allows you to be able to plan for a successful financial future through investing. If you do not, chances are high you will need to work during your “Golden Years”.

Creditors structure your debt and payments so you will stay in debt and so you will be paying them as long as possible. The longer you are paying them, the less you are investing for your own retirement. These days, Social Security is under-funded, thousands of corporate pension plans are bankrupt or severely underfunded, and corporate security is a dying myth. You need to take care of yourself – and for that, you need time for your wealth to compound itself, to grow.

So you are able to save as much as is needed for you to reach your retirement goals, getting out of debt is your first step.  Ten years from now, will you be debt free, with your investments growing and working for you? Or will you still be making payments, wishing you could get ahead? Creditors want you to stay hopeful, so you will keep paying them – but take a look at the last few years. Have you paid down your debt load substantially? Or has your debt steadily increased over the years, and even though you keep paying and paying, you are still not getting ahead?

The options to get out of debt are:

  1. Pay the minimum / stay in debt:Just keep making the minimum payments and hope you can stick it out. When creditors call offering some token “assistance” program you take it, but it won’t really help – it will just make the creditor more money.
    1. Upside: Feels most comfortable to you. “Looks” like the cheapest way out.
    2. Downside: You’re giving up your retirement and staying on the debt treadmill… you are running faster and faster, but not getting anywhere.
  2. Credit Counseling:This program was invented by the credit card companies. In it, you’ll repay all the debt + interest.
    1. Upside: None, really, except the calls will stop – because the creditors want you to take this option.
    2. Downside: You’ll pay back all the debt plus interest. Is that relief to you? You will have credit damage arguably worse than our program. Payments may be higher than what you currently pay. In the end, you might get the same results as our program, except you’ll spend more to get it – a lot more. Creditors push this program because they make more money off you.
  3. Bankruptcy:Chapter 7 or Chapter 13…. Most cases these days are converted to chapter 13, by which you’ll have to make repayments for five years.
    1. Upside: You’ll be debt free if you can file Chapter 7, but most people cannot. If you file Chapter 13, you’ll also be debt free, but it will take at least 5 years to get there and then your credit report still shows a bankruptcy.
    2. Downside: Permanent public record. Thousands in legal fees. The court custodian will dictate how you spend your money and if you disobey, may throw out your case. You will not be able to obtain certain home loans or business loans for life. Credit damage can last for approximately 11 years.
  4. Debt Consolidation Loan: Roll all your debts into one big new loan, possibly into your home loan.
    1. Upside: If you can get one, and then can afford all the payments, this may be a good solution.
    2. Downside: Almost nobody can get one anymore. Also, in cases of mortgage refinancing this replaces low-risk unsecured debt with high-risk secured debt. This means if you default on your credit cards, the credit card creditor complains by making a bad mark on your credit report, but that’s about it (other than risk of lawsuit which is uncommon). If you default on your home loan, you will go into foreclosure. Most of this is a moot point, simply because these days, very few borrowers can even qualify for this. If you do manage to qualify, you’ll pay thousands in fees (for home refinancing) and repay all the debt.
  5. Financial Security Inc. – Debt Settlement Program
    1. Lowest cost overall of any program except Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  However, qualifications for bankruptcy have become tougher, most may not qualify and some may still be asked to try an alternative method of getting out of debt before bankruptcy, such as Debt Settlement/Negotiation.
    2. Downside: Getting out of debt is never fast, fun or easy, but it can be faster than doing nothing, and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be addressing the debt you have accumulated and be able to start your financial life over.

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