Salem bankruptcy attorney

Are you feeling overwhelmed with debt? Are you experiencing financial hardship due to a sudden loss of job, serious illness, costly medical bills, or excessive debts? These can be some of the reasons why you fail to make monthly mortgage payments on time. To break free from these forms of financial burden, you can look into your debt relief options. These options can change the terms or amount of your debt so you can quickly get back on track, pursue debt settlement, and have a fresh start. Debt relief programs can reduce your debt load, but they do so in different ways and by using different strategies. Among the various debt relief programs, debt consolidation and debt settlement are the two most common debt relief options.

Debt relief can ease the burden of overwhelming debt; however, it might not be the right solution for everyone. A qualified Salem bankruptcy attorney can help you determine the most appropriate debt relief program for your situation. This article will walk you through the pros and cons of debt consolidation and debt settlement to help you decide the best way to pay off your loans. Here are some of the questions that you might have in mind:

  1. What is Debt Consolidation?
  2. What is Debt Settlement?
  3. Which One Is Better? Debt Consolidation vs. Debt Settlement


What is Debt Consolidation?

Debt consolidation is the process of combining multiple debts with high interest rates into a single payment under the new consolidation loan or balance transfer credit card. You may choose to consolidate debt if you have several loans or lines of credit to repay. Debt consolidation aims to reduce the total number of creditors that you owe. If you’re dealing with a manageable amount of debt and just want to reorganize multiple bills with different interest rates, payments, and due dates, then debt consolidation can help you.

There are two ways on how to consolidate debt into one monthly bill:

  • Acquire a fixed-rate debt consolidation loan – You can use the money from the loan to pay your bills and debts, then pay back the loan in installments over a set term. Various financial institutions (banks, credit unions, and online lenders) offer consolidation loans and all of your debt payments are made to the new lender moving forward. This will help you reduce your total debt and reorganize your finances so you can pay it off faster. For instance, you may use a personal loan to consolidate debt from multiple credit cards.
  • Use a balance-transfer credit card – Another option for credit card debt relief is through balance transfers. In this case, you’d open a new credit card account, ideally at a low or 0% annual percentage rate, then transfer your existing balances to this card.


What Is Debt Settlement?

Debt settlement is the process of resolving delinquent debts for far less than the amount you owe by promising your lender a substantial lump-sum payment. It means your creditor has agreed to accept less than the amount you owe as full payment and any remaining balance is forgiven.

Aside from the known advantages of this debt relief option, you also need to be aware of the consequences that you’ll face when you file for debt settlement. You can be eligible for a debt settlement only if you have many late or missed monthly payments. A creditor will not accept an amount that is less than what you owe if you still have the means to pay the full amount.

Unlike other debt-relief options, debt settlement can badly hurt your credit score. To successfully negotiate a debt settlement plan, it is crucial to stop making minimum monthly payments on your loan, which will incur late fees and interest, and damage your credit score. Becoming delinquent on debt and settling the debt for less than you owe can have a severe negative impact on your credit rating. Furthermore, there can be income tax implications to debt settlement because the amount of debt that’s forgiven will most likely be considered taxable income.

Generally, creditors will only agree on debt settlement for accounts that are significantly past due. Therefore, if you’re still current on your balances, then this may not be an option.


Which One Is Better? Debt Consolidation vs. Debt Settlement

Debt consolidation and debt settlement both have advantages and disadvantages. One option can be a better choice than the other. A reliable Salem bankruptcy attorney can help you choose the best debt relief option that will help you get back on track while trying to become debt-free.

If your priority is to make your monthly payment more manageable for your current budget, then you can choose debt consolidation. However, you need a good credit score to be able to become eligible for the lowest rates on personal loans. If you’re searching for debt consolidation loans, make sure to compare the annual percentage rate (APR), fees, loan repayment terms, and minimum credit score requirements to find the best loan options.

On the other hand, if you’re already behind on payments for one or more debts and your creditors are threatening to sue you, then consider debt settlement instead. Debt settlement can be an attractive alternative to bankruptcy Chapter 7 since it can eliminate debts without having to pay the balance in full. However, debt settlement can be risky and is generally considered an option of last resort. In this option, there’s no assurance that your creditors will agree to settle your debts. Also, you’ll need to keep in mind that offering a settlement requires you to have cash on hand to pay agreed-upon amounts. If you don’t have the cash to negotiate with, then seeking a debt consolidation or filing bankruptcy may be a better option. 

The Role of a Bankruptcy Attorney

If you’re facing a huge pile of debt, there are several ways to relieve your financial burden. It is important to know how the different debt relief options work and how they can help you solve your financial problems. Understanding the pros and cons of debt consolidation and debt settlement is critical for choosing the right solution. For legal help, do not hesitate to consult our competent Salem bankruptcy attorneys at Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm. Our bankruptcy law firm can help you determine which among the debt relief options will work best for you.

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