I’m Jason. I was hoping some of you might have some suggestions on how I can best deal with my debt. I am very confused, and am scared.
I had $50k in credit card debt before becoming disabled a few years ago, drastically effecting my income. Long story short: My creditors, 9 of them, were not interested in helping make it easier for me to pay down the debt on terms I could afford, and today, that $50k is now over $91k with penalties, vicious interest rates, and attorney fees.
A year ago, to avoid a nervous breakdown, I hired an attorney to handle this for me as I was really on the verge of losing my mind. He very quickly settled one $9k debt for $3500 (about 38% of the escalated debt, and closer to what I originally owed). Since then, we’ve had some contact, but I’ve come to realize that he has done nothing more than settling that one debt, and judgments and missed deadlines have been rolling in.
In a panic, I had a consult with a bankruptcy attorney today, ready to file for bankruptcy just to have this misery over, but he advised I would not qualify due to a little more equity in my home than I am allowed. He agreed to take my case but advised that I could likely settle my debts directly with my creditors and achieve the same results that he or another attorney would. And so I guess this is what I’m going to try to do.
Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with these creditors or their collection people. I am on permanent Social Security Disability; my income is and has been less than my expenses, and I do not intend to sell my home any time in the near future as I will likely not qualify for another mortgage given the circumstances and my now-poor credit. My only cash asset is a retirement account with around $10k in it. However, I do have a sister who is willing to lend me some cash if I can settle with these creditors, and 30-35% of the $91k is about what this loan will cover. Is it reasonable to expect any of them to settle for that?
I also am considering using a debt consolidation service, despite that I have not heard positive things in general about them. The reason I am considering this is because I would rather take the loan from my sister and put it toward getting my ailing house into good repair, and use whatever is left over to invest and pay down the debt with the income it would produce.
Thank for listening, and much Gratitude in advance for your help, Jason
PS: One more question: My original attorney had told me that the creditors who have liens on my home will not be willing to make settlements, but the attorney today told me this is not true. Does anyone have experience with this? Thanks again.. Jason