What is a Debt Relief Program?
Programs, measures, and plans that can help a debtor get relief from the burden of debt are basically what debt relief can entail. In order to make it easier for the borrower to repay their debt, a debt relief company offers a wide variety of different debt relief services that consist of several different debt relief programs to refinance, reduce, or eliminate debt altogether. Generally, in the debt relief scheme of things, combining multiple debts into a single, lower-interest loan, lowering the interest rate, and/or forgiving a portion of the debt’s principal are debt relief help that is obtained in some of the debt relief plans available for reduction of your debts. For the most part, during just about every debt relief program or option, the debtor ends up not having to pay the whole amount of debt when they pay off the debt in its entirety.
Debt consolidation and debt settlement programs are the most popular forms of debt relief help.
What is a debt relief program, you may ask? As you can appreciate from the list below, the list of debt relief services available is very big and diverse, for there are debt relief programs for every type of debt if you know how to find them. A debt relief program is one that will help and benefit you in your quest to become debt free, when compared to if you had done nothing or not joined one (a debt relief program). These debt relief services include the following:
- Credit Counseling
- Debt Consolidation Programs
- Debt Consolidation Loans
- Debt Settlement Programs
- Credit Card Debt Relief
- Student Loan Debt Relief
- Tax Debt Relief
- Debt Management
- Mortgage Debt Relief
- Auto Loan Debt Relief
- Paying the Monthly Balance
- Payday Loan Debt Relief
- Medical Debt Relief
- Federal Government Debt Relief Programs
- Federal Student Loan Repayment Plans
- Loan Modification
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness
- Fresh Start Program (aka Fresh Start Initiative) for IRS Tax Relief
- Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP)
- Debt Forgiveness
- Workout Arrangements
- Settlement Agreements
- Voluntary Surrender
- 401(k) Loans and Lines of Credit
- Cancellation of Debt
- Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 Extended into 2018
Advantages of Debt Relief Programs
The fact that you’ll receive assistance from seasoned debt experts is a major advantage of a debt relief program. Advice, counseling, and financial guidance are included in the debt relief scheme. Financial assistance finds you the benefit of lower monthly payment rates that suit your current financial situation, and you obtain a debt relief plan that works best for your spending behavior. You are kept from seizable portions of debt with financial assistance and your debt is paid in less time. Becoming free of debt ASAP for less is a great advantage in debt relief programs.
Disadvantages of Debt Relief Programs
The negative impact that debt relief generally has on your credit score is the primary disadvantage of debt relief programs. Your debt might not be guaranteed to be reduced no matter what plan you choose in an adept debt relief scheme. You must do your homework thoroughly and shop around as well, because you must know the different options available to you when getting involved in one of these debt relief plans, so you can get to choose the ideal one that best works for you and you don’t wind up in a worse financial situation, such as paying taxes on unpaid debt.
You are never alone when you have Start New Financial in your corner selecting the best debt relief program for your unique circumstance. The budget we build for you in a debt relief program is realistic with a financial plan you can easily follow in real time. We place you in a debt relief program that lowers, freezes, or completely eliminates your interest rates and consolidates your credit bills into reduced monthly payments in the individualized amount that most comfortably best works for you. Over-limit charges and fees are eliminated and all harassing calls from debt collectors are ceased with debt relief help. With debt relief services is how we have helped thousands of Americans say goodbye to their debts.
Two of the most common types of debt relief programs out there are debt settlement and debt consolidation programs. Most people are referring to these two specific types of debt relief plans when they talk about finding debt relief help. You can get out of debt with the help of one of these professional debt relief services. When you can’t solve challenges with debt by yourself, you just have to enroll in these debt relief programs to get your much-needed relief.
Other options for relief
When you’re not sure you need professional help, there are other options you can use to find debt relief help. Keep in mind that debt relief is what any solution that gives you a cheaper, easy, or fast way to get out of debt is referred to as. There are plenty of do-it-yourself debt relief plans to consider besides formal debt relief programs. You can work directly with a creditor or lender to find a debt relief solution you can afford.
With the debt relief help of deferment, you are allowed to temporarily suspend your debt payments. Without incurring penalties you get your lender’s approval to pause your monthly payments. A great thing about this debt relief option is that it also doesn’t negatively affect your credit at all.
Except in specific circumstances, during deferment interest charges still accrue. For example
- You defer the payment of your federal student loan until you leave school if it is subsidized. While you attend school, your great government pays interest charges.
- The payments are deferred if your loans are unsubsidized, and then conversely they are deferred but interest charges do accrue. This means that while you attend school the amount you owe increases.
It is most common on student loans that deferment is applied to. Other types of debt, however, can possibly be deferred as well. The only thing that is required for this type of debt relief help is the lender’s approval. Give your servicer a call to inquire if they offer debt deferment. If you can’t make your payments because you’ve had a temporary setback, then this is a good debt relief option for you to explore.
Similar to deferment is a debt relief solution called forbearance. Monthly payments are entirely suspended or reduced via the lender’s agreement. Deferment periods are generally longer than forbearance periods. When you first experience financial hardship, if you contact the lender they will typically grant you forbearance. Start New Financial advises you to request forbearance BEFORE you fall behind if you think you won’t be able to make your payments.
It is typical for mortgages and student loans, the type of debt relief help that is forbearance. Even with subsidized federal student loans, interest charges almost always accrue unlike in deferment. To qualify for forbearance is usually easier than it is for deferment. Credit card debt and other types of debt can also work in forbearance.
Refinancing permanently changes a loan, while forbearance and deferment for a period of time just change your payment schedule. Lowering the interest rate applied to the debt is the goal of the debt relief help of refinancing. Refinancing also generally provides other benefits, such as lower monthly payments.
Over the length of your debt’s term you are able to save money with this debt relief help because your rate was lowered.
- Private student loans, auto loans, and mortgages are some of the debt that can be refinanced. Your credit score is what qualifies you for a new interest rate. You may have to pay closing costs once again if you refinance a mortgage.
- Student loans have no federal program available to refinance them; a private lender is what you must go through in order to refinance such.
- It is simply known as interest rate negotiation when you lower the rate on a credit card in debt relief.
Only when you can qualify for a lower rate is the debt relief help of refinancing the right choice. For this, your credit score must have improved since the time the loan was solicited by you. Other factors can affect your interest rate as well, which you should keep in mind. For instance, the Federal Reserve raises rates in a strong economy. Refinancing is made a less beneficial debt relief scheme by this.
In this type of debt relief you settle your debt for less than you owe, similar to a debt settlement program. However, multiple debts are handled at once through a settlement company in a settlement program. In settlement agreements, on your own you negotiate settlement agreements with your collectors or individual creditors.
There are two ways to set up individual settlement agreements:
- A collector sends you a settlement offer to negotiate a settlement.
- A collector accepts a settlement offer you send them.
Debt is erased without penalties with true loan forgiveness (also called debt forgiveness). Your debt is forgiven without credit penalties or added fees by your creditor once you meet certain eligibility requirements. The credit bureaus receive a paid-in-full report on the debt by your creditor.
This debt relief plan is a rare circumstance, as you can imagine. Federal student loan debt is the type of debt that most commonly gets applied debt forgiveness to. But to qualify you must be in a public service profession such as teaching, nursing, or the military.
Tax debt forgiveness is also another debt relief help having to do with debt forgiveness. You must, however, prove that you are not legally responsible for the tax debt. In Innocent spouse cases is where this generally happens. You must prove that without your knowledge your spouse incurred tax debt.
TThe terms of a loan agreement are permanently changed with a loan modification, much like with refinancing. A modification can change the length of the term or the principal amount, while refinancing reduces the interest rate. You can also switch from a fixed rate to an adjustable. Most of the time, you modify it to get lower payments or to fit your needs.
The most common types of loan modification are mortgages. Modification matches the principal to the property value if your home is worth less than the remaining mortgage balance. During the mortgage crisis in 2008, modifications were rampant. The federally subsidized modification program (HAMP) however ended as of January 1, 2017, resulting in less modifications.
Setting up a repayment plan with an individual creditor is called a workout arrangement. Credit cards are the only ones eligible for this debt relief option. When you want to avoid a charge-off if you fall behind, the creditor will set up a payment plan you can afford after they first freeze your account.
The creditor will “re-age” your account in some cases. They bring your account current by telling the credit bureaus to remove late payments. Any damage to your credit score caused by missed payments is removed by this.
Giving up property that is attached to a loan as collateral is called voluntary surrender. You get out of the loan agreement like this. In an auto loan, for instance, the phrase ‘voluntary surrender’ specifically refers to giving up a vehicle to get out of the (auto) loan. Voluntary repossession is also another way to put it.
To avoid foreclosure on your home, you can also use a voluntary surrender option that is there for that. The name for it is deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. During the mortgage crisis of 2008, this was such a common debt relief option for American homeowners. Homeowners were allowed to make a clean break and avoid foreclosure with programs like ‘cash for keys’ that were offered by many lenders.
You must be aware that it doesn’t mean you avoid credit damage when you use voluntary surrender. It will hurt your credit the fact that your obligation to repay the loan still was not met by you.
Deficiency judgments may also be faced by you. To cover their losses, voluntary surrender allows the lender to sell the property. But the lender still retains the right to sue you for the difference if the sale doesn’t cover the full balance.
How Debt Relief Affects Your Credit
Depending on which debt relief service you use is how your credit score will be affected. Your credit should be neutrally or positively impacted by any solution that pays back everything you borrowed or owed. Eliminating fees or reducing interest charges does not result in credit damage. On the flip side, credit scores are damaged by any debt relief where there was debt reduction and the entire sum of the original debt didn’t have to be paid to achieve financial freedom.
As long as you make all your payments as scheduled, refinancing will not damage your credit. The same is true of a modified loan or a consolidation. Your credit will not be negatively affected just because you negotiated a lower rate on a credit card. Since the creditor agreed to change your payment schedule, forbearance and deferment also do not hurt your credit.
The impact is usually positive or neutral of credit card debt management programs and workout arrangements. You build a positive credit history and avoid missed payments with the help of these solutions. Using these solutions, most credit users don’t see any damage to their credit. The accounts will however be closed by these methods. The damage is usually nominal but this can usually have a slight negative effect on your credit.
Your credit is a tad damaged by debt relief solutions such as short sales, voluntary surrender, and debt settlement. For each of these, you incur a seven-year negative mark on your credit report. A seven-year credit penalty also results from Chapter 13 bankruptcy and foreclosure. A 10-year penalty is carried by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Bad Ideas For Debt Relief
You might think that debt relief plans such as bankruptcy and settlement would be bad ideas for you. But they are still viable strategies for finding relief for your debt even though these solutions may damage your credit. You make a clean break from debt when you declare bankruptcy, so you can move forward in a positive, empowered way.
On the other hand, people are put in a weaker financial position than when they started by several debt relief options out there. These solutions increase your assets or your financial risk. They actually put you behind even though they wipe out your debt. You want to avoid these solutions whenever possible.
Tapping Home Equity
Cash-out refinancing, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) , and home equity loans use home equity to provide debt relief help. To pay off debt the equity in your home is used by you as collateral to basically borrow against it. When you have a lower credit score, this can especially seem like a good solution. When a loan is secured using your home as collateral, it’s easier to get a low interest rate.
But your financial risk increases significantly with these debt relief programs. You risk foreclosure if you default on any of these debt relief options. You could lose the place you call home, which might be your most valuable asset. You generally want to leave home equity alone and not touch it. For building net worth, your home equity is often the largest asset you have when you borrow against equity. A liability is what you’ll turn your asset into. Literally speaking, net worth is calculated by taking total assets minus total liabilities – i.e. your debts. That becomes a problem when you go to open a new loan because your assets-to-liabilities ratio won’t be where you need it to be. So, it can actually make it harder to borrow when your solution is to avoid hurting your ability to borrow.
Using Retirement Funds
To pay off debt, we do not recommend tapping your IRA or 401(k). You lose the growth you would have enjoyed on those funds as well as funds you take out. Your retirement can be set back by you by years or even decades.
In addition to draining your retirement funds, you can face early withdrawal penalties if you take out money before the age of 59½ on a traditional IRA or 401(k). Since it’s considered taxable income, you will have to pay 10% of the money you withdraw as penalties for early withdrawal. You could additionally be required to pay taxes on the money you withdraw. These taxes and penalties do not apply to a Roth IRA.
It still cannot be understated the amount of savings and time that you lose by making an early withdrawal. If you drain the funds now, you could be forced to work part-time through retirement or to delay your retirement.
If you take out money before the age of 59½ on a traditional IRA or a 401(k), you can drain your retirement funds in addition to facing early withdrawal penalties. Start New Financial has all types of great debt relief options and programs from which we can help you select the best one for you to get you out of debt ASAP for less than what you owe.
We customize an individualized debt relief program tailored to best work for you so you can finally become debt free seamlessly, enjoying peace and happiness. Just remember, for debt relief help, all you need to do is call Start New Financial for your FREE phone consultation.
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