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When evaluating ways to reduce or eliminate your debt there are many different approaches to consider. Rather than doing noting and hoping the problem goes away or simply paying the minimum payment will not solve the issue. Instead of hoping to come into a large sum of money or filing for bankruptcy, explore the alternatives that have worked for millions of others in your same situation. The three most effective ways to obtain debt relief are through Debt Settlement, Debt Consolidation and Personal Loans.

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Settlement

Debt settlement is a method that involves negotiating with creditors to pay a lower amount than what you owe. This has also been called debt forgiveness, credit settlement or debt negotiation. Debt settlement typically requires a lump sum payment at an agreed upon amount to resolve a debt. Hiring a debt settlement company enables them to negotiate on your behalf with the creditor to reduce the amount of your debt. Keep in mind that with any negotiation, there can be varying impacts to your credit report so be sure to inquire about possible implications of any debt settlement.

  • Pros

  • Can provide a quicker way to resolve your debts

  • Paying a lower amount of debt

  • Can help avoid bankruptcy

  • Removes annoying creditor calls

  • Cons

  • Coming up with a lump sum is difficult for many people in debt

  • Settlement can trigger a taxable event

  • Creditors may not agree to settle

Consolidation

Debt consolidation is a loan that is given to you to pay off your existing credit cards, medical bills, personal loans and other debts. Instead of paying multiple creditors, you “consolidate” all of your debt into one loan. While it is appealing to get rid of numerous creditors at once, you are simply bundling it together and paying one company. The benefit of one, lower monthly payment is helpful to some, however this approach isn’t always effective in reducing your overall debt.

  • Pros

  • Easy to implement

  • One lower monthly payment

  • Typically unsecured; no need to put up collateral

  • Cons

  • Lower credit worthiness

  • Very high interest rates from 15 – 25% or more

  • Some lenders are able to increase the interest rate over time

  • Prolongs debt payoff, effectively paying on your debt longer

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Personal Loans

If you are fortunate enough to have a family member or friend that is willing to lend you money, then this can be a good way to get relief from your debts. Otherwise, you can take an unsecured loan out and pay off debts yourself. Lenders usually have a loan minimum of $1,000 to $5,000 so make sure to explore their terms and conditions before applying. While this can be similar to doing your own version of debt consolidation, many people are tempted to take a portion of the money for other expenses or purchases resulting in higher amounts of debt.

  • Pros

  • No need to deal with the creditor directly

  • Can pay debts faster

  • Great short term solution

  • Cons

  • More difficult to get approved

  • Doesn’t address the underlying cause of the debt

  • With high debt amount the interest rate on the new loan is likely to be high

  • Owing a friend or family member money can strain a relationship

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In the end, you will have to evaluate and compare each of these debt relief strategies to determine which one makes sense for you and your circumstances. Once you have decided which approach makes sense for you, be sure to read our reviews to select the best debt service company. If you are still unsure which credit relief option makes sense for you, consider credit counseling services which can help map out a plan to get out of debt.