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Being over burdened with debt is a very scary place to be and that can be compounded exponentially by the harassing calls from your creditors. My experience tells me that if you are like most people that are in a debt elimination program it is because you were forced to do it to evade bankruptcy. Stress like this can take its toll on you, your spouse, your kids, your friends and even your coworkers. So lesson number one is this.
1-Take a deep breath and exhale.
Seriously. If you came this far for professional help the one thing you must allow to let happen is to let the people you placed your trust in to do their job. Especially since in the first few months when aside from your cease and desist letters going out there is really nothing happening. Why?
In Debt Settlement they are not making monthly payments to each and every one of your creditors on a monthly basis. They can only settle your debts as there are enough funds accumulated in your account to create those settlements. As time progresses believe me they will be contacting you. As soon as you can settle a debt they are looking to bundle your debts into a pool with dozens of other people’s debt. Then they will contact the creditor with that large pool of debt for a better negotiation and pricing.
2-KEEP YOUR LOG!!!!!
This log serves two purposes. One is to keep track of every creditor that calls so you know who is doing the harassing. Two is to send that over to the attorneys so that they can enforce the cease and desist. I always hear about how people say that the calls don’t stop but that is because they don’t tell anyone that they keep coming.
Nobody is a mind reader and just saying ” I keep getting calls” doesn’t clarify to your representation who it was that is calling. Additionally if a creditor decides to sell your defaulted debts to a collection agency then they too must be sent a cease and desist to stop their calls as well. Get a company and representative name, time and date they called and log it. Send it every two weeks and I can guarantee you that the calls will stop. If they don’t then you have a nice lawsuit going for yourself as they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and each instance is worth $1,000 to you.
3-Start A Budget
Knowing what you can and cannot afford each month is crucial to making a good recovery. Pay yourself first, then the Mortgage, the Car, Insurance,etc and above all stick to it. Remember, its always easy to buy what you need-
Real personal control is knowing when NOT to buy what you don’t need.
4-Get Yourself a SECURED Credit Card.
Putting all of your cards into a debt settlement program closes everything out. Sure you probably have a debit card from your bank but you should get one anyway. I personally think that if you get a secured card and put $300 on it you will learn how to walk around with all of that money that’s ready to spend BUT it will teach you how NOT to use it. This will teach you control and it will most certainly be a safety net if something ever happens where it may come in handy.
5-Protect your identification.
You just got into a program to help you get back on track. If you haven’t done so already then I suggest that you seriously consider protecting your identity. There are several plans to choose from some very well known companies and they are pretty inexpensive. Normally only $10-$15 a month but it will lock your identification up like a safe. Identity Guard and Privacy Lock are both good programs and offer you up to 1 million dollars in protection against identity theft. It would be a shame to get through something like this only to have to then start dealing with finding out how somebody has your info and just bought a car, clothes,tools and stuck you with the bill.
I’ll come back with some more tips soon. Stay the course!