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Time line of Debt Trouble

Like most things, trouble can be analyzed as a series of discrete steps you can consider. And you can fix them one thing at a time, too.

Timeline of Trouble

 

Life before Trouble (this may be mythical)
Distant Rumbles  Something is not right – you know you aren’t doing something you should, either to prepare, protect, or conserve.
Closer Rumbles Rumors of Doom – bills mounting, spouse complaining, you complaining, boss warning.
Dark Clouds in Sky Collection letters and calls, serious conflict with important people
Debt Collection
Litigation Has its own process (See Litigation Timeline)
Clean-up and Move on  Win or Lose, life goes on. The quality of your life depends on handling this well.

This time-line probably doesn’t tell you anything you don’t already know. Our point here is to “build system” to help you approach things systematically. It’s easier to take things one step at a time and in order than to take everything on at random. So much of what makes debt troubles so hard is that they are overwhelming and dispiriting. If you break them into simple steps and allow yourself the patience to do them one at a time trusting the results to add up over time, you can handle the problems.

We also suggest that you think “strategically,” which means keeping your end-results in mind from the very beginning.

Don’t Talk to Debt Collectors

When should you talk to a debt collector? And why shouldn’t you talk with them otherwise?

You Should Only Talk to them If you Have a Good, and Immediate, Reason to Do so

As a recent commenter pointed out, debt collectors are often “not nice.” But whether they are nice or not, their job is to take your money away and give it to their company. That means that, personality aside, their interests are against yours, and you should never mistake politeness with being on the same side. Likewise, you shouldn’t polite discourtesy for power or anything other than what it is. In this video we review the basic rule of communications with debt collectors: it is rarely a good idea.


Hang up when you’ve said what you need to say

Once you have said what you need to say to the debt collector, if anything, you should hang up.

There are too many bad things that can happen for you to stay on without a good reason. You could make admissions that damage your case (if they get around to suing you), you could give them information they could use to take your money if they sue you and win.

Remember that what lawyers usually hate more than anything is a lack of definite information. Every time you open your mouth and speak to a debt collector, you’re giving some lawyer what he or she needs to decide to sue you. And even telling them you don’t have any money may not be helpful because that could tell them it would be easy to beat you in court.

Less is definitely more when it comes to talking with debt collectors.

What to do if you have debt troubles part 1

If your bills are adding up and the bill collectors are beginning to bug you, you need to start taking action to protect yourself.

This video goes through the reasons you should win if you get sued for debt and begins the discussion on how to send the right signals to the debt collectors to leave you alone.