It can be extremely hard to put together a framework or a payment plan that is both affordable to you and acceptable to your creditors.
There are a number of factors you’ll have to keep in mind when you’re attempting to set up a payment plan for your debts.
In this post, I’ll look at how you can track down all the debts you owe and set up a repayment plan for them.
Tracking Down All Your Debts
If you want to pay off all of your debts, you need to be able to track them and be aware of all of them.
It’s very likely that you may have forgotten about a debt if, say, you moved to a different residence and your creditors weren’t able to get back in touch with you.
A great way to find out information about the debt(s) you have is to go through your credit file. Your credit file is a record of all of your financial dealings over the past six years.
It has information regarding your bank accounts, loans, payments as well as information regarding any other form of credit you may have taken out. It even contains information regarding bills you paid such as mobile phones, utilities, etc.
If you want to find out details about the money you owe and who you owe that money to, looking over your credit file is definitely a good place to start.
If you can’t find information about your debts in your credit file, then going over old letters and emails from your creditors can be a good idea as well.
You can also learn valuable information about your debt by looking up old bank account statements.
If you use online banking, you may be able to look these up on your own. On the other hand, you may be able to request your bank to provide you with copies of older bank statements. Please note that, depending on your bank, you may get charged for this.
Choosing your Debt Solution
Once you’ve tracked down all of your debt(s) and gotten a fair idea how much money you owe and who you owe it to, it’s time to start looking towards debt solutions.
Depending on the amount of debt you have, the type(s) of debt they are and what your surplus income is like, the debt solution most appropriate for you will vary.
It’s a good idea to get debt advice from a professional or an independent debt charity. Be sure that when you’re looking for debt advice that you don’t get it from an agency that charges you for it.
Obviously, it’s never a good idea to go to an agency that charges you for debt advice when you’re already having financial troubles.
This is why when it comes to debt advice, going to a registered charity is almost always the best way to go.
They will give you impartial debt advice based on your debt and the surplus monthly income you manage to generate.
Your surplus (or disposable income) can be defined as the income that is left once you have attended to all of your essential monthly costs.
Determining your surplus income will help you determine what your monthly regular payments are going to look like.
Since you want to pay off all of your debt(s), a Debt Management Plan (DMP) is the solution that would most likely work best for you.
How Does a Debt Management Plan (DMP) Work?
A debt management plan is an informal agreement between you and your creditors which states that you will make monthly regular payments towards your debt until the debt has been completely paid off.
The amount you pay to your creditors every month as part of your payments will be determined by how much you can afford to pay.
Of course, the duration of your DMP can vary by a lot since it will depend on your payments and the amount of debt you have. If you want your DMP to end early, you’ll have to pay a hefty amount as part of your payments. On the other hand, if you can only afford to pay a little amount as part of your payments, then your DMP will last a fairly long time.
Unlike other formal debt solutions, DMPs (depending on the payments) can last even more than ten years.
It’s a good idea to seek debt advice from a professional when determining what your payments to your creditors are going to look like.
Not only will they give you debt advice on your monthly payments but they will also negotiate with your creditors to ensure that those monthly payments get accepted.
Always know that creditors have to give you breathing space and allow you to get your finances in order when you’re attempting to pay off debts. You will never be obligated to pay more than what you can afford to pay.
The first step towards determining payments is to determine your monthly surplus income. Please note that not all types of debt can be part of a DMP so you have to include your payments to debt(s) outside of your DMP as your essential costs.
It’s a good idea to calculate what your surplus income has been for the past 6 – 12 months. This will help you get an average estimate of the amount you can pay as part of your monthly payments.
If you’re struggling to pay off debts at a rate that is acceptable to your creditors, you can ask your debt management company for help with negotiations or you can seek debt advice regarding other debt solutions.
Setting up an effective payment plan can seem difficult at first but if you take things step-by-step and follow the right debt advice, you can get it set up in no time.
If you need more debt advice, feel free to contact me.