How to Negotiate Debt – Advice on How to Settle Unsecured Debts

Many people who get into serious debt appear to do nothing about it, which can just makes matters worse. This inactivity is usually just to do with a lack of understanding about the best ways to deal with debt, though with some people there is also an element of hoping that if you ignore it long enough it might go away. The one thing you can be sure of is that it will not go away, but once you understand what you need to do, you can take steps yourself to become debt free once more.

If you ignore creditors and do not communicate with them, they will fill that vacuum with their own assumptions. In the absence of other information or any kind of relationship, it will be easy for them to assume that you could pay them back if you really wanted to, but are simply choosing to keep the money you owe. So the first thing you need to do is to acknowledge that you have a problem, be up front about the reasons that you are unable to pay, and assure them that you are serious about finding a way to resolve the situation.

When your financial situation gets beyond a certain point, it becomes pretty much impossible to find a way to pay back everything that you owe in full. If your debts are huge and your income small, this equation is unlikely to ever balance out. If you did have a steady income and a reasonable amount of money spare each month to put towards your debts, then you could look at a debt management plan. For many people, however, this is not an option because they cannot afford to keep up the required payments.

In such situations the only option other than bankruptcy is to negotiate settlements with your creditors. Rather than trying to find ways to pay back your debt in full, when you negotiate debt settlements you are trying to get your creditors to agree to write off a large part of what you owe them. Someone who knows how to negotiate debt effectively will normally manage to get well over half your debt wiped out. The flip side is that the remaining amount needs to be paid back relatively quickly, usually in one lump sum or a series of fairly quick payments. The fact that you do not have a large lump sum of cash sitting around for this purpose is not necessarily a problem, as this is usually the situation.

When thinking about how to negotiate debt you essentially have two options for how you move forward. You can either try to undertake the negotiations yourself or use a specialist debt settlement company to do it on your behalf. For UK residents it is worth mentioning that debt settlement companies do not really exist as they do in the US, because there is a formal scheme called an IVA, which is widely used to deal with the same situation. At the end of an IVA your remaining debts are written off, so the end result is the same as debt settlement.

By undertaking the negotiation yourself you save on having to pay any fees to a debt settlement or IVA company, but that is only worthwhile if you manage to get as much written off as they would have. You need to understand that simply trying to persuade a credit card company, for example, to let you off with 60% of what you owe them is not going to work unless you understand the details of how and why they might be prepared to do that.

Understanding how to negotiate debt settlements is about understanding how your creditors treat bad debts. Each company will have a slightly different policy on how they deal with such things, and knowing this is essential to being able to time your negotiations for maximum effect. There are times to ignore calls and offers from creditors and other times when your proposal is most likely to succeed.

It is certainly possible to negotiate deals that are as good as those achieved by the professional debt negotiators once you have a thorough understanding of how to negotiate debt properly. In order to achieve this you need to have a reliable source of information and advice on the debt negotiation process. There are various guides and learning sources available, but not all are of much real use. What you need is detailed advice from someone who understands the process inside out. A good guide should tell you when to call, what to say, when to write, what to write, and give you full step by step instructions. The best guides on how to negotiate debt are proper learning tools that even include one to one advice and ongoing support throughout your settlement process.

The alternative is to use a specialist company to negotiate debt settlements for you, for which they will take a percentage of what they manage to save. Going down this route is obviously much easier, though you will pocket a bit less of the savings achieved. Do exercise some caution over which company you use, as not all will deliver what they promise. It is best to follow recommendations for settlement companies that are known to be reliable and reputable, then approach at least three different ones.

What Leslie Nielsen, ‘Airplane!’ And ‘Naked Gun’ Star Can Teach Business Presenters

One of the funniest films of the 1980s has to be ‘Airplane’ – a parody of air travel – with Leslie Nielsen playing a deadpan role with a line that he became most known for. Amidst all the chaos going on in the movie, people would frequently say:

“Surely you can’t be serious!”

Nielsen’s character would reply:

“I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.”)

With a career spanning six decades, Nielsen is a good role model for business presenters. Here are a few things we can learn:

Be open to comedy

Nielsen played serious roles for over 30 years before he moved into comedy and parody roles, like the Naked Gun franchise. As business presenters are we open to comedy? I recommend that all presenters follow stand-up comedy as much as possible. There is nothing harder in the world that being in a dark room full of people with a microphone and having to make them laugh for 40 minutes. Watch as much stand up as you can -either live or on video. Buy a book on how to write a joke and bring humour into your business presentations whenever you can. Make sure that you are staying on the right side of good taste as a corporate presentation is not as racy as a comedy club. If you are not sure check with a friend before you deliver.

Be known for something

Nielson was best known for the above catchphrase. What is your catchphrase? What are you known for? I like the phrase “you get what you give” which acts as one of my guides in life. It prompts me to give as much value as I can as freely as I can. You might have a quotation from someone, or advice you received from a teacher. Have a handy catchphrase when you are presenting to your team – it can help them understand what drives you better and also help them catch your point.

Be in it for the long haul

In a world where Facebook keeps people busy and unproductive, the work ethic may be a thing of the past. I hope not. Nielsen worked into his 80s and appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters. Whatever field you are working in make sure that you are in for the long haul. Imagine you are on a 50 year career journey. What do you want to achieve? Putting off writing that book? Why not give yourself two years and set the target of writing 20 words a day. People underestimate what can be achieved through consistent effort and so they keep postponing starting a project.

Take a leaf out of Nielsen’s book and remember to be:

  1. Open to comedy
  2. Known for something
  3. In it for the long haul

And why not take another look at Airplane or Naked Gun and refresh yourself on how funny films really don’t need computer graphics to be funny.

Great Retirement Presents Under $50

A retirement gift is a great way to show appreciation to an employee or congratulate a friend! While you certainly should give a little gift to the soon-to-be retired guy or gal, you definitely don’t want to break the bank. Traditionally a company would offer their retiring employee a gold watch as a farewell gift, but those days are long gone. Nowadays, you can be really creative with the type of farewell gift you would like to offer the retiree.

Engraved Plaque or Frame
An engraved plaque or frame is a really wonderful way to show your appreciation to an employee or co-worker. A plaque has plenty of room for you to offer your thanks for a retiree’s service or a special message about retirement. For a great co-worker who is retiring, you might consider a nice engraved picture frame that has a picture of you and the co-worker at your favorite lunch spot or a group shot of your co-worker’s favorite office friends with a special or even humorous message about retirement.

Mini Gift Basket
If your retiree lives far away, but you would still like to get him or her something special for retirement, then consider a mini gift basket full of goodies. There are lots of themed gift baskets that can be ordered online and delivered right to your retiree’s home. A fun themed gift basket for a new retiree might be “breakfast in bed” because now he or she will be able to sleep in until whenever they want! And gift baskets don’t always have to filled with chocolate and cookies, there are even great healthy gift baskets for retirees who are watching what they eat. So it will be fun to find a great gift basket that matches your retiree’s personality and they will be thrilled to receive such a thoughtful gift.

Make Your Own Mini Gift Basket
If you can’t find a gift basket that would be perfect for your favorite retiree, then consider putting together your own! A coffee related gift basket can be full of new gourmet coffee flavored beans, a cool coffee mug, and maybe some candies. Or a fun beach themed gift basket can include a nice beach blanket, sunscreen, healthy snacks – all tucked into a new beach bag! Making your own gift basket can be cost effective and you might even get your friends and co-workers in on the deal to create a mega gift basket where each person contributes a little something for the retiree!

Personalized Hobby-related Goods
Retirement is all about fun! So if you know what drives your retiree to wake up in the morning, then consider getting a fun hobby-related retirement present. If your retiree loves to go fishing, then consider a nice fisherman’s hat with the retiree’s name embroidered on it. If your retiree loves to workout, then a new personalized gym bag would make a great gift. Finding a hobby related gift may be a little more difficult than finding a traditional retirement gift, but it will mean so much to the retiree that you went to the trouble to make their gift memorable.