Alabama Debt Relief
With the ever larger debt loads faced by Alabaman borrowers, it’s no wonder that so many of the citizens of our fair state have begun to examine the various alternatives to paying back their mortgages and credit card bills through more than traditional means. After all, considering that our current national financial struggles show no signs of improving over the coming years and more and more consumers find themselves out of work, there are increasing levels of desperation felt from all sectors of the economy, and borrowers are drawn to all aspects of debt relief. This modern world, it’s the easiest thing possible to wake up and realize you’ve somehow accumulated financial burdens nearly impossible to repay through traditional measures. With credit cards now so freely available to nearly every Alabaman that can sign their name and a topsy turvy financial structure that effectively enables spending more than our citizens’ earn as a cornerstone of expansionary economic periods, buying absent regret has become almost an instinct for our countrymen, and so many consumers land themselves in a revolving continuum of paycheck to paycheck cycles propelled by the very lenders they’re so desperate to pay that they fall prey to the most predatory of schemes.
Within this sort of economy, even the smallest life change can lead to grave repercussions. From marital problems to illness to a change of employment, any number of the seemingly inevitable consequences of modern life may impact your household budget beyond capacity, and this style of plate spinning domestic finance engenders desperate foolhardy solutions patched together at the last minute and fueled by purposeful ignorance on the behalf of the borrowers. Jumping from check to check with no room for error, unable to pay anything toward savings, ever harried by ceaseless payment due dates and expanding minimum obligations, the Alabama debtor attempting to carve out a life upon the turn of the twenty first century too often finds him or herself without hope and tragically susceptible to confidence schemes that, however technically legitimate the business and glossy the surrounding spiel, inevitably scavenge the debt relief wishes of those that can least afford false promises. Five years ago, for example, the Alabama legislature legalized the so-called payday loan services, but, even though this usurious practice has been made lawful throughout the state, this could only be considered debt relief in the most tragic sense. Ever since Alabama representatives passed that 2003 law distinguishing payday loans as a justifiable practice, people from all corners of Alabama have been misled into (searching from some short term assistance with minimum payments or sudden household needs) believing that the service may be some sort of debt relief when, in actuality, it only worsens the existing debt problems. Actual management of debts will be a long and difficult process that, while it may indeed require the help of external authorities such as debt settlement companies, demands exploration on the part of the borrower and a general understanding about the unspoken rules of debt relief.
Among these companies, probably the most well known sort of debt relief business for Alabama and the rest of the United States of America would be the Consumer Credit Counseling alternative. As most Alabama borrowers likely know by now, thanks to the industry’s seemingly never ending stream of commercials and advertisements, the Consumer Credit Counseling companies consolidate all unsecured debt (that is; debts not already attached to collateral liable for repossession or foreclosure or similar fates) in order to attempt to lower the accumulated interest rates toward something far lower. Alongside this clear benefit, which (for reasons we shall soon explain) can almost be guaranteed for near every Alabama borrower, the Consumer Credit Counseling professionals are also likely to clear away the former fees charged by the credit card companies for payments that arrived past their due date (twenty five bucks for a days’ postal delay) or accounts that were charged past their limit (thirty dollars for a few cents’ miscalculation), and, in what has become the Consumer Credit Counseling companies’ greatest motivating sales gambit, the new payments shall be far below the combined minimums of what the debtors had previously been striving to eke together each month. It’s an attractive debt relief presentation that the Consumer Credit Counseling specialists have put together, no small wonder that the industry has gained so much momentum through the last few years, but there are any number of drawbacks that their television commercials do not even dare to mention.
When entering one of the Consumer Credit Counseling storefronts – which, by this point, have popped up near every Alabama town and city of any size – you will be explicitly told about all of the benefits this service may indeed have to offer. One could hardly complain about lower interest rates or waived fees, after all; this is debt relief in its most superficial sense. However, the lowered payments end up for too many borrowers resembling a bittersweet privilege. For all of the temporary assistance recalculated payment schedules may bring Alabama households, the smart borrower should also realize that the lower the payment, the longer the eventual term of the overall loan and the more that they shall inevitably pay in compound interest. What use halving the actual rates when you’ll just up spending even more through terms that last twice as long? Further, the negative impact upon your FICO score and credit report is almost as bad as what you would see following declaration of a Chapter 7 debt elimination bankruptcy even though the debts remain with the Consumer Credit Counseling decision, and you’ll end up spending a pretty penny for the companies’ services before everything’s said and done. Actually, not only will you pay through the nose for the assistance of Consumer Credit Counseling professionals, but the debt relief specialists you work with will also request payment from the credit card companies as well. Remember, the conglomerates behind your credit card bills live in fear that the ordinary consumer might try their hand at bankruptcy protection – however disruptive recent congressional fiat has rendered that debt relief choice; any Alabama head of household that earns more the forty thousand a year probably would no longer even qualify for Chapter 7 debt elimination – and they want to make sure that their clients are locked in to an achingly slow system of debt relief that effectively forces the continual repayment of interest until the consumer’s death.
Now, debt settlement companies – superficially quite similar to the Consumer Credit Counseling debt relief alternative; both, after all, consolidate all unsecured revolving credit card accounts with an eye to eventual reduction of debt burdens – also maintain their own set of disadvantages. While less destructive to credit ratings, Alabama debtors that go through the program shall still see their FICO scores take a slight dip, and, once they are part of the debt settlement program, borrowers shall no longer be able to use past accounts nor take advantage of any new credit card opportunities sent in the mail or telemarketed or even offered from a trusted lending institution. Alas, much like the Consumer Credit Counseling option, debt settlement professionals do not work pro bono. They have their own fees that you’ll have to worry about – though, as with Consumer Credit Counseling, the brunt of the expense shall be extended over the course of the consolidation – but debt settlement companies do not ask additional money from the credit card companies that they have expressly pretended to be working against. Instead, the debt settlement professionals assume a combative posture from their first talks with representatives of the credit card companies and do whatever’s necessary to ensure that your credit account balances are reduced. Alabama consumers that we have spoken with in the past year have reported that experienced debt settlement negotiators have eliminated as much as fifty percent of their overall balances through a mixture of carrot (sped up payment schedules that typically last less than five years) and stick (the still effective threat of personal bankruptcy which reps of the credit card companies are taught to avoid at all costs).
Now, much as we thoroughly recommend every Alabama borrower at least takes a close look at the debt settlement alternative, we cannot promise it shall be the right fit for each family. So much, after all, depends upon what your family can and cannot pay each month. Income, household expenses, the type and the complete amount of debts held (and even the specific corporation that holds each debt; some still refuse to negotiate debt settlement regardless of technique) mean so much when deciding upon a particular debt relief plan. After all, debt settlement does mean you will still have to repay the majority of your current credit obligations within a limited time period, and, we understand, that’s just not possible for all Alabama families. Furthermore, you will still have those secured debts, like car loans and home mortgages (not to mention tax liens or any governmentally assessed bills like alimony or child support) to deal with. The responsibility for effective debt relief still lands with the original consumer, and you must start taking charge of their finances before presuming any other company can just make things right. Talk to the lender representatives yourself before involving debt relief companies, and, even after you’ve chosen a debt settlement or alternative approach, make sure that you continue to talk with the creditors to ensure that the bills are being paid as originally agreed and that all fees and debts that were purportedly waived have, in fact, been erased.
In order to ensure that you will have the funds necessary to meet the debt settlement stipend each month as well as taking care of all additional burdens such as payments for the aforementioned secured loan, insurance, and all of the day to day expenses households require to run smoothly. Budgeting should be of primary importance for every Alabama borrower in need of debt relief (which, realistically, should be every Alabama borrower that finds themselves unable to easily pay their outstanding debts – home mortgage or investment excepted – within a few months). Proper management of income and expenses remains the backbone of effective debt relief. Alabama’s shown a steady increase in per capita income growth, hovering just under three percent per annum for around the past decade which lands us comfortably in the top echelon of states, and, even during this period of economic unrest, many borrowers and other members of their households should be able to find additional work or begin home based business to increase earnings. Greater income combined with an end to foolish spending – a serious and reasoned program of debt relief, in other words – should prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again in the future regardless of how much Alabama and the American culture at large accentuates and indulges our worst impulses toward shopping without remorse.
While the worst tendencies of the American economy over the past few decades, propelling our countrymen into ever greater debts so that such artificially spurred bouts of purchasing buoys otherwise shaky financial underpinnings, have led consumers into such dire financial straits, our system of commerce also encourages new markets and industries to develop which help unfortunate borrowers navigate their way amidst debt relief predicaments. Throughout Alabama and the rest of North America, Consumer Credit Counseling and debt settlement and the similarly motivated firms have proven that they can effectively diminish the stresses that accompany debt loads, alleviating borrower tensions while facilitating communication between the clients and the lenders, while taking the debt burdens upon themselves as the debt relief specialists negotiate more advantageous terms and force leniency towards the payment schedules. This alternative could not guarantee debt relief for every borrower, if needs be said, but a wide swath of Alabamans insist that the process has prevented their households from being swamped by out of control debts. No consumer should enter the professional debt relief arena without quite reasonable apprehensions regarding the potentially troublesome repercussions, but experienced and educated debt relief counselors may still effectively aid their clients whenever the need for such assistance arises.
Though social services continue to be cut during the national financial crises that currently plague the American economy, resources yet exist for every citizen, and, while these programs (whether subsidized by the state or through non profit charities) may certainly be of some use to the right borrower, the best sort of companies – even if they are technically non profit or organized by the state or federal government – do request at least some small stipend for the first discussion. Within Alabama, for example, the various counties have originated debt relief affiliations with some of the more established community banks to provide assistance for those borrowers suffering from out of control debts. Within such ventures, social workers and enlightened volunteers have been trained by debt relief specialists typically employed by the banks or debt consolidation firms to advise unlucky debtors that recognize their essential helplessness in relation to existing burdens and larger spending habits. Considering Alabama’s continual troubles with problem debtors – for the past decade, Alabama has been found near the top of per capita Chapter 7 bankruptcy declarations, sharing that unfortunate distinction with Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and, in recent years, Utah – state officials have taken special care to help aid Alabamans understand and master debt relief from a blend of public and private counseling.
For most borrowers whose financial obligations have risen to the degree that they can no longer easily satisfy the minimum payments demanded by their creditors, involvement with one of the professional debt relief companies will sadly still be necessary. It certainly wouldn’t harm any Alabama household’s chances to avail themselves of the free (or, again, virtually free) state resources before choosing any specific course of action, but they will likely suggest eventual partnership with one of these specialists – consolidation with a debt settlement negotiation firm, say – for true and lasting relief from debts. This should not still be an easy decision for any Alabama family, and they should not feel that they are being rushed into any one approach. If bill collectors will not stop telephone or direct mail harassment, contact the consumer affairs section of the Alabama attorney general’s office (11 S Union, 3rd Fl, Montgomery, AL 36130; toll free phone number 1-800-392-5658) to report particular misdeeds. Alabama – along with thirty some other states – allows the consumers within the state to record phone conversations with all such collection agencies regardless of the bill collector’s notification or prior approval under statutes outlined by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and proof of harassment should provide more than enough leverage to guarantee the agency not only will leave you and your family alone but also close up shop to prevent them from ruining the lives of other Alabama households.
There’s no reason for any family to suffer through this sort of barely lawful aggravation, and Alabama has done as much as any state in the south to protect their citizens from collection agency persecution. Though the process of debt relief demands swift and serious attention from all applicable consumers and all debtors facing consumer debt burdens should begin analyzing their predicament immediately, no Alabama borrower should allow him or herself to feel pressured into any course of action they do not thoroughly understand nor whose underlying foundations and eventual disadvantages they do not feel they will be able to comply with beyond question. So much of the relationship between a debtor and his or her debts remains impossible for an article such as this to accurately comment upon. Alabama, like all states, maintains special privileges for its consumers that should be fully investigated before consolidating past obligations.
Even the best debt settlement companies and associated professionals often ignore the less attractive debt relief practicalities with an eye toward ensuring the best potential credit reports and FICO scores. To take one of the more vibrant examples, Alabama features a statute of limitations (still ultimately dependant upon the lender’s initial written contract) upon consumer debts that can last no longer than six years and, for revolving accounts, may be as little as three years. Much depends upon the borrower’s state of residence when they took out the original loan and when the first delinquency was officially recorded, but this effective loophole should have obvious benefits. Many debt relief specialists, ever aiming to perfect their debtor clients’ overall situation (and, for some, pad the balances upon which they’ll draw a percentage of the total for their commission) will still urge complete repayment of all outstanding loans to better the borrowers’ credit ratings. Still, it may well be in the best interest of the more cash poor debtors to indulge the grace of Alabama’s statute of limitations upon such burdens.
All of which is not to say that debt settlement should be avoided or that debt settlement counselors are not to be trusted. The grand majority of such debt relief companies in the Alabama area or around the nation have earned sparkling reputations from a uniquely successful technique that genuinely can diminish payments and settle debts by as much as half of what the borrowers are currently bound to owe while eliminating all financial liabilities in only a matter of years and safeguarding home and hearth from seizure. Furthermore, in conjunction with Alabama law and the best wishes of the state to protect its citizens from future troubles with monetary burdens, these debt relief companies will also counsel borrowers on purchasing habits, budgeting, and organization of all consumer related difficulties involving the most beneficial payments to be made and how best to avoid succumbing to similar problems down the road. Curious borrowers should make sure to ask the Alabama chapter of the Better Business Bureau about any specific company that they are thinking about meeting with as well as contacting the federal Fair Trade Commission to ensure that there were no existing complaints upon record, but, still and all, for any Alabamans serious about debt relief programs, there’s nothing to lose by a process of discovery. It may take a while, it may be difficult for you and your family to suffer through the various deprivations that the program requires, but, with little more than will and effort and the desire to succeed, debt relief can be a reality for every Alabama household.