I Was Irresponsible But Now Want to Get Out of Debt. – Akil

“Dear Mitch,

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I have 30k in student loans and about 20k in other outstanding debt. I have been irresponsible in my younger years and now I want to clean up my financial problems.

I know it is a long process but what is the best way to start and the most efficient way to start paying off my debt.


Dear Akil,

The best way to get started is to list everything you owe. Look at two things, how long it will take to pay off the debt at the minimum monthly payment AND how much your payments have to be to pay off the debt in the next 3-5 years. If you can pay it all off with a plan, great. If not, then you need to take the next step and try to negotiate the debts down. Keep in mind that student loans are exempt from a bankruptcy discharge and the do not negotiate. However, there are income-based repayment programs through the U.S. Department of Education that can help keep payments affordable.

For the rest, pay off whatever is secured by property that you want to keep, like car loans. Then, plan and negotiate the rest. You may be able to reduce balances and interest rates to help you eliminate the debt. Do not add more or you may ruin your chances of success. If things get worse, consult with a local consumer law attorney for help.

Mitchell Goldstein is an attorney licensed in Virginia. His practice focus is consumer bankruptcy, mortgage and debt defense and technology issues. He is a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA). His goal is to educate people with solid advice and give guidance to consumers to help them made decisions that impact their financial well-being.

Legal Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship is formed with attorney without a written agreement.