Are you struggling to make all of your payments on time every month? Are you getting behind? You’re not the only one – in fact millions of people around the world need help with debt problems. No matter how bad your finances seem, there is always somebody out there who has it even worse. The good news is that since it is such a common problem, there are many programs and services available to help those with debt issues.

Since there are so many services, however, not all of them are going to be very good. Some are just a waste of money and time. There are certain types of debt that no debt relief organization will be able to help with, such as child support, government loans, utility bills, etc. Mostly, there are programs to help with credit card debt, certain types of loans, tax relief, and medical bills.

The first step before contacting any of these organizations is to make a list of all of your bills and the minimum payment you owe each month. If possible, try and prioritize them. The bills you need to pay in order to live should be at the top, as well as mortgage if you owe any. If you have secured lines of credit with collateral that you could be in danger of losing, then that should be near the top also.

Services that Offer Help With Debt Problems

The next step is to look over services and read reviews on the best companies that provide help with debt problems. You should obviously never pay for a consultation or estimate. Only consider companies that will speak with you and give you a consultation for free before deciding on a strategy that would be best suited for your needs.

Will a debt management program be ideal? Debt settlement? Bankruptcy? Negotation? A debt extension loan? A new repayment strategy? Will the program you join benefit you in ways such as helping you obtain lower interest rates or discounts? These are all important options to consider when seeking help with debt problems.

A consolidation loan, as nice and convenient as it sounds, isn’t for everyone. For some indidivuals, the best solution is to leave certain debts where they are, and try to get some professionals to negotiate on their behalf to lower the interest rates and provide them with some relief to make it easier to make payments.

Debt negotiation should be viewed as a last-resort measure before filing bankruptcy. A lender has little motivation to accept a pay off for less than the full amount unless the debtor is already months behind on bills. Debt negotiation, also sometimes called debt settlement or debt arbitration, is best reserved for use when debt is seriously delinquent. If you’re considering debt negotiation, it’s important to be informed about all the options available to help you deal with your debt.

Contact your creditors, negotiate payment arrangements, ask permission to skip a payment, or ask for a lower interest rate. These are simple measures you can take as a first step to manage your debt. Try these options first before you attempt any other course of action.

If you have a large amount of debt, a qualified credit counseling service may be able to help you reduce payments and prevent further damage to your credit report. Although credit counseling can provide consumers with valuable assistance, some firms exist only to cheat their unknowing clients. These companies use their non-profit status to attract customers who are then scamed into paying large upfront fees. Those fees are then sometimes funneled to for-profit companies. Recently, the FTC and IRS issued the following tips for choosing a credit counseling organization.

* Pay very careful attention to the fees you are being charged, the nature of the services the agency offers, and the terms of the contract.
* Check to make sure that your creditors are willing to work with the agency the you plan to choose
* Consider using agencies that offer actual counseling and education, instead of simply enrolling all clients in a debt management program

Another option for consumers overwhelmed by debt is to consolidate debt by establishing a new loan (debt consolidation loan) with lower monthly payments. A debt consolidation loan helps manage your debt because the loan is usually over a longer period of time and possibly at a lower interest rate than your existing debt. Consolidation should be used when debts are mostly current.

While there are many options to help you cope with unmanageable debt, sometimes debt negotiation may be the only appropriate course of action remaining. For example, debt negotiation would be a good course of action if a long-forgotten debt is the only bad entry on your credit report. However, keep in mind, you may owe income tax on the debt owed. Any forgiven debts of $600 or more are considered income to the consumer. If you do negotate a debt down, the creditor will send you and the IRS a Form 1099-C at the end of the tax year.

As a general safety precaution, anyone who plans on using a third party to handle their finances should remember to check them out with the Better Business Bureau and State Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection. These agencies keep records of credit repair services that have mislead their customers about the impact the service would have on their credit rating, the fees involved, and the possibility of legal action from the creditors.

The cat is out of the bag and debt settlement companies are facing adaptation or extinction. Debt settlement can be a tedious process that lasts from a year to four or more depending on the extent of the debt load.

For the most part these settlement companies will explain the process along with the pros and cons of a debt settlement.

The pros:

-Settle debt for less than the amount owed

-Get out of debt faster than paying it all off

-Avoid bankruptcy if you are able to afford the process and have a smooth ride

-Once you are done you can reestablish your credit quicker

So really the benefit of the program lies in a quicker debt relief option and the avoidance of having bankruptcy on your record:

The cons:

-hurts credit badly for duration of the program

-you might get sued and get a judgment on your record (maybe even wage garnishment)

-you will get collector calls

-you will have to pay taxes on the debt forgiven

There are always negatives that come with the pluses and every individual will have to determine if the pluses are worth more to them than the possible negative consequence.

However, negotiating the debt on your own with a do it yourself program will definitely have one major benefit, no exorbitant fees (such as 15% of total debt), along with the bonus that creditors prefer to work with you directly rather than a debt settlement company which might decrease the chances of you getting sued significantly.

Do it yourself debt settlement is led by a passion, or hatred rather, towards eliminating debt in an efficient, affordable manner. This is all about bringing about an awareness that the consumers can eliminate their own debts without hiring a very expensive debt settlement company.

But how can it be done?

By choosing the best possible educational portal that provides the most convenient system and make sure that the consumer can adhere to.

Find a debt settlement guide that will include a system rather than just a book, audio CD’s, and simple tables or charts. Those can become tedious and the debtor, already having enough on their plate, might give up thinking it’s too hard and just go ahead and sign up with a debt settlement company after just wasting their money on a do it yourself debt settlement course.

Consumers do not need a course or a cheap e-book put together from free material already found on the web. You need to stay away from those and do enough research to make sure the system you purchase will have enough support to be able to guide you through the entire process to finish.

One thing is for certain: soon consumers will never have to spend any more money on these debt settlement companies and debtors that were not able to afford that option before, or didn’t qualify will soon have the best agent working for them: themselves.