In the modern age, debt is a standard part of life. We rely upon credit to buy our cars, homes, phones and many other essential elements of modern living, and debt is the inevitable result of this. A normal, manageable amount of debt is not only common, but it is a good thing, as it helps us to build the credit that will be needed for the future.
But after a certain point, debt becomes a terrible burden that can impact our finances, relationships and even our health. Overwhelming debt can completely take over a person’s life, and it may feel as though there is no way to recover. It is at this point that many consumers begin to turn to unsavory options such as predatory lenders, borrowing from friends and family, draining savings and even bankruptcy.
For some people, debt gets to a point where these types of options are the only possible solutions, but there are techniques that should be attempted before seeking such ends. While there are companies that will offer quick and easy ways to get out of debt, a responsible consumer must understand that there is no way of dealing with excessive debt that is either quick or easy.
Getting out of debt will take responsible decisions, changes to spending habits and accountability, but the path to financial freedom does not have to start with a major, risky action. Before you choose an option that could be detrimental in the end, try some of the follow techniques that can help you rebuild your credit, pay off debt and get back to a normal life.
If your main issue is credit card debt, the simplest solutions is to try and renegotiate your payments. There is nothing about your interest rates, payments or even the balance that is set in stone with credit card companies, and most would rather negotiate a payment plan than lose out altogether. Doing so may have an impact on your credit score, but it is always preferable to more extreme options.
2. Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation can be a realistic and responsible decision for some consumers with excessive debt. While there are different techniques for consolidation, they all involve taking out one large loan (ideally with a very low interest rate) and paying off all of your current debts. This option can obviously be dangerous if done improperly or with the wrong lender. Before taking this route, you should research and learn about Credit Repair Organizations Act and other regulations which protect consumers from predatory companies. Consumers Advocates.org also gives reviews on many of these companies.
3. Borrow From Retirement Funds
If you have a 401k, IRA, investments or other retirement funds, you could borrow from these accounts in order to help pay off your debt. But you should be aware of all the potential risks and fees and determine whether or not this would be the right option. Depending upon the type of account, the amount you plan to take out, time in which it could be repaid and other factors, this strategy may save you from bankruptcy.
4. Reassess Your Lifestyle
This may sound obvious, but the first step you should take to deal with overwhelming debt is assessing your current lifestyle, budget and spending habits to determine what is unnecessary. This may not be easy, and it will certainly not be pleasant, but honestly and thoroughly reviewing your income and debt and making responsible changes could be the simplest solution.