There are certain questions that you are too ashamed to ask anyone whether it’s your family members or your friends. If you are going through financial hardships, you certainly don’t want anybody to know. Often you choose to shy away from asking questions related to debt management and prefer to turn a blind eye towards the situation.
Either you are embarrassed that you have gotten yourself in this situation or you are embarrassed to seek any assistance as the situation has gotten out of your hands. This can never be a good idea. So, let us discuss five common Debt Management Questions people are commonly embarrassed to ask –
What is the right time to declare bankruptcy?
There is nobody on this mother earth who is having the liking for the word ‘bankruptcy’. Some of the people have even gone to the extent of construing the word as failure. But, bankruptcy is not that bad at all. There are some of the wealthy and influential people who have declared bankruptcy but they all are leading a normal life. In fact, it offers you a chance to restructure your debts and working with your creditors to pay off the owed amount while looking for a protection that won’t leave you penniless.
Now, here comes the burning question i.e. when to declare bankruptcy? Well, this depends on case to case. But, if you are in a position of only making minimum payments on your credit cards and you are using them to pay minimums on your other credit cards, then this is a big warning sign. If you are not in a position to pay the bills, you don’t have any savings left, and you are about to get evicted, then you are in deep water.
However, you can use a simple test to add up all your assets and compare them to all your debts. If your debts overpower your assets and the creditors are calling you time and again, then this is the right time to declare bankruptcy.
How Do I Declare Bankruptcy?
If you have thought hard and you are convinced that bankruptcy is right for you, then the following step is to go and do it, no looking back. But, be informed it can be a daunting prospect. Your first step should be to be familiar as what type of bankruptcy you should declare? You have heard about Chapter 11, but it is a complex solution and it is mainly for the businesses. Instead, you should think about filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Talking about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also termed as straight bankruptcy, it is not that arduous. As per this plan, your current assets get liquidated in order to pay a maximum amount towards the owed debt. The remaining debt is then bargained, some of your debt may be forgiven and the remaining debt will be added to the repayment plan that you can easily afford. One of the biggest disadvantages of this Chapter is that you may end up losing all that you actually own, including your car, home, and other valued possessions.
As for Chapter 13, if you own a property then it can be a boon for you. It is commonly termed as ‘reorganization bankruptcy’ and you may need to choose this anyway if you are having an annual income that is too high to get qualified for Chapter 7. But, no matter what option you go for, both the options are piled with various rules and regulations.
Once you have made your mind about a preferable bankruptcy, the process begins by filing a petition that is of two-page at your district bankruptcy court, along with other required forms, and a fee of around $300. The best thing you can do is to find a good and experienced bankruptcy attorney as you don’t want to fight this battle on your own.
How to deal with the credit card debt?
Unfortunately, credit card debt can make you feel helpless and debilitated. Sadly, people tend to go for more and more credit cards in order to cover up the costs and before they actually realize they end up burying themselves in making minimum monthly payments that they cannot even make. But, if you are stuck deep into the debt, there are certain options for you.
Firstly, are you aware of any method through which you can transfer your debt to loans or your other credit cards having low rates? As compared to a credit card, an HELOC has a lower rate and the repayment terms are favorable as well. You will find credit cards offering 0% interest on balance transfers and with a small fee or at times no fee at all, so you need to put your shopping skills to test here.
Are you able to cut costs somewhere else to have additional money for making credit card payments? Do you have a gym membership? Do you go out for dinner often? Do you have magazine subscriptions? Make sure you have looked for the ways to cut everywhere and use the amount to pay off your debt.
Finally, you can use the ‘Snowball Method’. As per this method, use the maximum amount of money as you can to pay off the credit card with the smallest balance, whilst making minimum payments on other credit cards. Once the balance reaches 0, take all the payment and use it for the next credit card. This can give you a sense of accomplishment and the payments keep on rising on each card, try snowballing to have enough payment by the time you reach to your last card.
Is there any way to improve the credit score?
If you have a low credit score, it can be embarrassing and proves costly as well. The credit score plays an imperative role in the kind of the financial deals you will get. You, obviously, want to have impressive percentage rates on both your credit cards and loans, so it is important you have stayed away from being turned down for any kind of credit, it is important you have addressed the issue.
You might be aware of the fact that you won’t be able to fix it overnight. Be prepared, as it will take a significant amount of time to improve your credit score. But certainly, there are steps that help you make the improvements immediately.
Start off by having a copy of credit report and you can have it from www.annualcreditreport.com and you don’t need to pay anything for that. Make sure you have not committed any mistakes. It is quite common to commit a mistake but you can start off by correcting those mistakes. Make sure you have addressed any late payment or delinquencies and your credit score will also increase as and when they are removed.
Next step is to have a glance at your credit card balances. Are you one of those individuals who have small amounts spread over varied credit cards? If your reply is in affirmation, you should choose to consolidate those debts onto few cards and you should allow those cards only to go forward. However, closing out other cards is not recommended. Make sure you leave them open as it can hurt your score as well. Leaving them open will prove your credit utilization ratio, which measures how much credit you have available free to use.
For the future, you will have to ensure you pay all your bills on time. Technology is surely a great thing and you should make the most of it. You can also create a calendar either on your phone or your laptop that will show you when your bills are due. You can also use auto-pay that also helps in avoiding any instance of late fees.
What is the difference between Good and Bad Debt?
You might be wondering as for how debt can be termed good? Well, there is a noteworthy difference and if you know the actual definition, it can surely have a great impact on what you want to spend on and the manner in which you spend it.
Talking about good debt, it is something that helps in creating value over time. It has been seen that most of the people prefer buying a home good debt, as the investments grow in value, and eventually will lead to more money at the end of the day. Other examples comprise of student loans, which can be termed as an investment in yourself, and business loans which should lead to greater revenue. Certainly, these examples are marred by different things such as the collapse of the real estate, lack of well-paying jobs after graduation, but as a general rule, they are still considered as good debt.
When we talk about bad debt, it is something that helps in creating no value over time. It’s actually the money that is being spent on various disposable items, high-interest rates, and anything else that add on to the spending without eventual fiscal profit. A new car loan can be considered as bad debt as the car decreases in value. Even if you are dining out regularly that is also considered as bad debt if you continue ringing on the credit card and only pay off the interest each month.