Getting into debt is hardly uncommon, some might even say it’s the American way. However, no matter what type of debt you have, someone owns that debt and they are going to want to collect on it eventually.
For debt like credit cards, past-due bills, short-term loans such as payday loans, and even medical debt, that means that the lender or creditor may begin calling you. If the debt has been outsourced to a debt collector, chances are that they are already calling.
These calls can interrupt your leisure time, place an incredible amount of stress and worry on your shoulders, and are often an indication that collection efforts will escalate. If you have accumulated a bit of debt, but haven’t yet been getting calls from collectors, here are a few things you can do right away to try to prevent that altogether.
1. Clean Up Your Credit Report
This is one of the most obvious things, but it is also one of the routes that is rarely taken. Many websites, apps, and even the federal government will provide you with a copy of your credit report from each of the major bureaus. Use this along with one of several great snowball debt calculators to make a plan for paying off any negative marks.
2. Consolidate High-Interest Debt
Following the effects of the recent pandemic, many Americans are drowning under high-interest debts such as credit cards, payday loans, and more. If you find yourself in this situation, the stress of the potential collections can be crushing.
Look into a consolidation service, but be sure they can work with all of your high-priority, immediate debt. Once you enroll with a consolidation service, they will become the point of contact for all the debt they cover, so you won’t have to worry about any abusive phone calls.
3. Look Into Bill-Lowering Services
There are a number of websites and apps that will negotiate your current bills, services, and subscriptions for you. In some cases, these services are able to save some people relatively significant sums on their insurance, memberships, subscriptions, and monthly bills.
If you choose to go this route, be sure you use a well-reviewed service. Also, check the list of companies or services that they work with, to see if they will be able to work with your bills. Similar options include insurance rate comparison services, and internet service provider comparisons if multiple providers are available in your area.
4. If All Else Fails, Negotiate
If there is no other solution available, which is often the case for student loan debt or medical debt, you may just need to bite the bullet and negotiate the debt. It won’t make the debt vanish, but it will make it far easier to stay current.
Depending on the size of the debt, having 50%-60% of it on hand may make it enticing for the creditor to settle the debt. Otherwise, they may accept a down payment and a revised monthly payment arrangement.