Should I Pay Minimums On Debt or File Bankruptcy?
Nobody likes or wants to have to file for bankruptcy, but often times it is the only way to break free of the strangle hold that the credit card companies hold over you. If you are somebody with a significant amount of unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, repossessions etc.), then you are probably making payments towards paying that debt off and feeling like you are not even making a dent. You are thinking that you have never been late on a payment and you are not going to start being late now. While that is an honorable approach, it is most likely not the approach that is going to allow you to get your head above water and the fresh start that you deserve.
Think about it, If you continue to pay the minimum balance on your credit card debt with a significant balance, you will never pay this debt off and in fact, the balance that you owe will only continue to get larger. Is this really the best approach? On the other hand if you are somebody who qualifies for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can eliminate this debt without having to pay a dime to your creditors and get a fresh start. In the alternative you may be a candidate for a chapter 13 bankruptcy if you cannot qualify for a chapter 7 due to income restrictions. A chapter 13 bankruptcy would allow you to make payments on your debt over a period of 5 years and what you don’t pay off in that time would then be discharged in the bankruptcy. The amount that you have to pay back would be determined by your income.
Finally one last option that you have if you do not want to file for bankruptcy or a bankruptcy does not make sense for various reasons is to settle your debt for less than what you owe. In order to accomplish this, you will need to go delinquent on your debt most likely and the balance can usually be settled for 20-50% of what you owe. Not a bad deal right? With that said, you will want to make sure that you account for any debt forgiven will be counted as income on your taxes. This is not the case for any debt discharged in bankruptcy however.