By Paula Langguth Ryan
When it comes to your debts, are you stressing yourself out financially or creating financial hardship for yourself or a loved one? Has anyone suggested you consider bankruptcy? Do you get queasy even considering the idea?
I want you to pay attention to where any feelings of “it just feels wrong inside” to not pay your bills is coming from. Is it coming from somewhere deep inside yourself, your Higher Self, or is it coming from the guilt consciousness that creditors have instilled you with? This mental struggle is what keeps so many people stuck in a lack consciousness. And keeps you singing “this is the debt that never ends… it just goes on and on and then…”
Here’s what happens when you have debt you’re struggling to pay and refuse to fully consider the options you truly have. We buy into the “marketing story” that our financial choices somehow mean something about us. We buy into the story that it means something about us if we pay our creditors less than the full balance of what we owe them.
Yet we don’t experience guilt if we buy something on sale, or at a discount, or take advantage of a coupon. So paying less than full value isn’t really the issue.
Our egos have field days with situations like these! Your ego tries to make this “mean” something about you. Which is why “not paying my bills” scares you.
It’s important to make financial decisions that truly are in your best financial interest, rather than in your creditor’s best financial interests. I’ve actually had clients for whom bankruptcy was truly their best option. Yet they preferred to try and work out hardship payments instead. Some clients have moved through repayment programs and gotten to the other side. Others struggled with the repayments until they finally came around to giving themselves permission to declare bankruptcy and get a fresh start.
Everyone works at their own pace and at the level of where their consciousness is at. Bankruptcy, repayment. Or a middle ground, like working out a settlement with your creditors.
When it comes to your best financial interest, negotiating a settlement with your creditors may mean the difference between five more years of spending money to pay off high-interest debts, versus paying off the debts for a fraction of the amount you’ll pay over the five years.
If you’re saddled with debt, check in with yourself. Make sure any actions you take moving forward with your debts are guided by love and gratitude, and not from a sense of penance or guilt or fear. Only you know yourself well enough to discern that. Then take a deep breath, set the “emotional” part aside and do the math.
Look at how much you actually owe. Let’s say you owe approximately $30,000 to your creditors. Over the course of 5 years, if you’re paying $1000 a month toward them, you could wind up paying between $45,000 and $60,000 before they are paid off, depending on the interest rates they are charging. If you’re paying less than $1000 a month, of course, it will take even longer AND you could wind up paying three times what you actually owe.
Compare that to spending $1000 to hire a bankruptcy attorney. You can use the bankruptcy protection laws to release the debts and get a fresh start within a few months.
Or you can split the difference. You can pay your creditors an amount that both you and they consider to be fair compensation for what you owe. You can stop paying your creditors, save your $1,000/month for 4 months and get a debt to settle for 50% or less. Then save up $1000 for another 8-12 months and get all the other debts to settle for 50% or less. Inside of two years, you’ll have paid off all your debts AND it will have cost you only $12,000-$28,000 (almost the full amount you actually owe).
Financially, it makes more sense to negotiate settlements that actually pay your creditors the true value of the debt, instead of paying up to twice as much as you owe over the course of five years.
Creditors have built and marketed the credit system to feed your guilt and keep you in a state of lack. Whether you have me help you mediate a settlement with your creditors, or you come to an agreement with them on your own, it’s important to heal your fears so you can move forward toward your dreams and visions.
If you don’t have a copy already, grab a free download of my Heal Your Relationship With Money e-book and workbook. It may give you some amazing insights into how and why you see money the way you do.
Paula Langguth Ryan has been a consumer financial advocate for 20 years. She is the author of Bounce Back From Bankruptcy, Giving Thanks: The Art of Tithing and the forthcoming Break the Debt Cycle – For Good! She is a mediator and a debt negotiation specialist who acts as a go-between between consumers and creditors to reduce interest rates and payment amounts, re-age accounts and negotiate settlements that are satisfactory for both parties. She also provides strategic financial counseling to help people create clarity around their best financial moves given their current situation. And she helps people heal the core beliefs that are causing them to underearn or feel undeserving. You can subscribe to Paula’s Inner Transformation newsletter at www.PaulaLangguthRyan.com or follow her on Facebook.