Debt management – how should I do it?

Written by admin on March 27th, 2011

If you can’t keep up with your debt repayments, then a debt management plan could be the right debt solution for you. Your lenders may agree to accept lower monthly repayments, based on what you can realistically afford. They may also agree to freeze interest and/or waive charges – although they are not obliged to do so.

Debt management can be carried out in different ways: on your own, or via a debt management organisation which will organise a debt management plan for you.

However, there are a few things you may want to consider before you get in touch with your creditors – or ask a debt management organisation to do it for you:

–    If you change the way you repay your debts, you will be defaulting on your original repayment agreement. This will be shown on your credit rating for six years, which could affect the cost and/or availability of credit for that time.
–    Creditors are not legally obliged to accept the new repayments terms, or stick to them once they’ve agreed.
–    If you agree to repay your debts over a longer period of time, you may increase the overall repayment amount (due to interest).
–    Lenders will not agree to lower repayments unless you can’t afford to make the agreed repayments to your debts.

If you choose to ‘do it yourself’, there are a few things you will have to do. For example, you will have to calculate what you can afford to pay; negotiate with your unsecured lenders, asking them to allow you to repay your debts at an affordable rate; re-negotiate if your circumstances change significantly and those payments become unaffordable; etc.

If you decide to speak to a professional debt management company about your debts, they could do this for you.

So – should you manage your debts alone, or should you seek professional debt help?

Professional debt management

There are several advantages of letting an experienced debt professional manage your debts. To name a few:

1.    It’s not their debt – Debt management professionals won’t become emotionally involved with your debt. If you dealt with everything on your own, it could be a stressful experience.
2.    It’s their job – A debt management professional should be used to managing multiple debts to multiple lenders – they should know how to handle the paperwork, how to negotiate, etc.
3.    They understand debt – Debt management professionals will have experience in the different types of debt people have, so you can be confident they will understand yours. They may have worked with many lenders before, so they should have an understanding of the sort of proposals they are likely to accept/reject.

Debt management on your own

Some people prefer to remain in control of their own finances. If you decide you want to address your debts alone, you will save yourself the fee that some debt management organisations may charge you.

It is important that if you do ‘go it alone’, you are confident about negotiating with your lenders, and are prepared to deal with the necessary calculations, phone calls and letters.

If you require further information on debt management, or any other type of debt help, you could research the topic for yourself, or contact a professional debt adviser, who could talk you through the possible options.

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