Debt Help – Who can You Trust

You are in Debt, you are struggling, you can’t pay your bills. What do you do? Like most people, you turn to the Internet. After all, the Internet has all of the answers.  It is true that you probably can find the answers you are looking for online. However, you are definitely going to also find all of the wrong answers, and no shortage of websites, sales people, and hucksters more than willing to sell you down the river to make a dollar.

Debt Settlement helpJust type “Debt Help” into google and it will return hundreds of thousands of websites claiming to have the best program to get rid of your debt.  What you need is a knowledgeable financial adviser and what you get from google is endless pages of generic websites making outlandish claims and asking you to fill out a form with all of your personal information and the amount of debt so some nameless sales person can call you back and sell you a program you probably don’t need.

When looking for Debt Help, here are some general rules you can use to avoid making a bad financial situation much worse.

1.  Take your Time.  Never work with anyone that is pressuring you to make a rash decision that you are not fully educated on or ready to make.  This might well be one of the most important financial decisions that you will ever make and it will certainly affect you and your family for several years.  You didn’t get into this mess overnight and you will not get out of it overnight.  So taking an extra week or two to think things over, and discuss your options with loved ones is definitely a smart move.

That being said, there may be rare occasions where you do need to make a quick decision.  If you were served with a lawsuit and need to file a response in a few days or something of that nature, then a quick decision is necessary, but things like that are much more the exception and not the rule.  So make sure to take the extra time to confirm you are making the absolute best decision for you and your family given the circumstances that you are in.

2.  Research the best solution or strategy for you and your specific situation. Make sure you look into all options available, understand the pros and cons of each and have a clear idea about why one strategy or a combination of a few strategies will be the best solution for you. Before moving forward with anything you should be educated on how the following strategies would affect you.

Debt reduction optionsa.    Debt Snowball
b.    Consumer Credit Counseling
c.    Debt Settlement
d.    Bankruptcy (both Ch. 7 and Ch. 13)
e.    Debt Consolidation
f.     Doing nothing at all

3.  You should seek out knowledgeable financial advisers, not sales people, to review your overall situation.  To tell the difference you need to pay attention to what is being said during the consultation.  Is the majority of the time spent asking questions about you, your finances, your situation, what you would like to accomplish, what different options make the most sense to explore and why … etc?

Or is the majority of time spent telling you about all the great features and benefits of the specific program that they are selling? Any adviser worth his/her salt would never make any recommendations without a good understanding of your overall financial situation, your goals, and your attitude about debt.  If someone is making recommendations without asking you these things, then politely hang up the phone because they are just wasting your time.

4.  Once you have a pretty good idea about which strategy makes the most sense, you need to determine the best person or company to help you implement that strategy.  You will want to know things like their track record, how long they have been in business, what is their fee structure, what are they going to specifically do for you as a client … etc.  You should have a list of things that you are looking for and make sure the person or company has the qualities that are important to you.

5.  Do not sign up with any program that you do not understand.  When properly explained none of the financial concepts listed above are complicated or difficult to understand. If you do not understand what you are signing up into it is simply because the person signing you up either didn’t bother to educate you on it (Big Red Flag) or is just a sales person that doesn’t understand it either (Bigger Red Flag).

During my consultations I have spoken with 100’s of families that have been left in absolute financial ruin by taking financial advice from individuals that are nothing more than telemarketers with fancy titles.  To avoid falling victim to an unscrupulous company and making a bad situation worse, remember these 5 points:

1. Take your time
2. Research all available options
3. Consult with a Knowledgeable Financial Adviser
4. Find the person or company to assist you that best meets your needs
5. Make sure you have a strong understanding before signing up into any program.

Sticking with those 5 points when looking for Debt Help will go a long way toward insuring that you are focusing on the right solution and working with the right partners to help you successfully get out of debt.

About Damon Day

As a Debt Coach and a Financial Advocate, I have saved my clients Millions of Dollars by exposing the debt relief scams that other consumers fall victim to. I work directly for my clients to create custom debt relief strategies based on their own unique circumstances. Consumers who speak with me first, come out far ahead of those who don't, every single time. Guaranteed. +Damon Day

11 Responses to “Debt Help – Who can You Trust”

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  1. sarah (2 comments) says:

    Excellent advice as there are so many so called debt relief companies out there that will just make your debt worse. I can’t stand those commercials on the radio either – I think they are all scams, people just need to start reading and understanding how debt gets erased, then seek the “worthy” professional help they need to get out of debt.

  2. Travis (1 comments) says:

    I absolutely agree with @sarah. First, the commercials are nothing more than the TV version of “link bait”. People forget all too easily that companies are in business to make money. They conveniently leave any reference to this fact out of their commercials. Why? Because in just about 100% of cases, there companies either cannot do anything substantive to fix your debt problem OR they can’t do anything you could easily do yourself by asking for help from the companies to whom you owe money. Communication is always the key.

    • Damon Day (116 comments) says:

      Well said Travis,

      Every commercial you see is just an offer for a consumer to call in for a free sales pitch about a program that in almost every case will not be the best solution for the consumer.

      In many cases it will actually make the consumers financial situation worse.

  3. Jeremy (1 comments) says:

    I have been thinking about taking my 401k early to pay off my debt. I know the steep penalties but I am paying 18% on my cards. Plus the stress of having the debt is not good for me at all. I am in my 40s so I won’t be able to make all the money back in my 401k before I retire. Is this a really bad idea or acceptable in my spot?

    • Damon Day (116 comments) says:

      To properly answer that question for you, I would need to know much more information about your overall financial situation. I would recommend scheduling an in depth phone consultation with me so I can take a look at everything that is going on, your expected future earning capacity and your goals.

      If anyone offers you advice without taking the time to really understand you and your situation, you can rest assured that the advice you are getting is very likely just a sales pitch. Don’t be surprised when the solution they offer, just happens to be the only thing they are selling.

      The decision to withdraw money from a 401K to pay down debt is not a decision that should be taking lightly and is not reversible once you do it (regarding the taxes and penalties.)

      In some cases, borrowing or withdrawing money from a 401K to get out of debt can make good sense, but in other situations, there may be much better alternatives that will allow you to accomplish the same end result.

  4. Jon D. (1 comments) says:

    Excellent advice. I’d add that if you meet with a financial planner and they do recommend something to ask if they receive a commission for selling that product or service. Unbiased sales-people exist offline as well as online.

    That said, a financial debt consultant who does not receive sales commissions can direct you to options and explain the small print so you know exactly what you’re getting into to ease your debt.

    • Damon Day (116 comments) says:

      Hello Jon,

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on my site. I of course agree with you which is why I charge my clients directly for a consultation vs offering them for free, but then having a need to sell something in order to get compensated for my time and my knowledge.

      One of the challenges I run into from time to time, is educating consumers that spending a little bit of money to make sure you are getting the right information, is so much less expensive then acting on the wrong advice from a sales person, simply because they were offering a consultation for free.

      It is going to cost a consumer money regardless of who they talk to. The difference is that with me, you know right upfront what you are going to get and what it will cost. With a free consultation, you have no idea whether or not the advice that you are getting is because it is the best solution, or the one that the person offering the advice is getting paid to tell you.

      If you don’t pay for a professionals time, then someone else has to be. At that point they are an advocate for the person paying their bills, not for the person getting free financial advice.

      As Jon said, you should always ask how a professional is compensated and then weigh that against the advice that has just been given.

      It is impossible to serve to masters.

  5. Peter (4 comments) says:

    Thanks for sharing this. It really is import to know who you can trust because if you aren’t sure it can be really a pain to the head. Thanks for these steps. Thanks!