Debt Management Plan Basics

Many consumers find that they are no longer able to mange their debt on their own. They need help. Debt management plans are an excellent tool for those that need assistance in eliminating their debt.

If you are considering a debt management plan, you probably have many questions as to how it works and what it costs. Each financial management plan agency will work differently, but in general, you should see some similarities between them all.

The debt management service will typically send a proposal letter to each of your creditors. The letter will request your creditor’s approval to enroll your account in the management plan. It will contain you several items, including your net income, living expenses, the names of your creditors, your proposed repayment amount for each creditor and the date of payment to creditors. This lays out the information for the creditor to see where you are financially and what your plan is.

Most debt management plans take you three to five years to repay your debts. This, of course, depends on the amount you owe and the terms set by your creditors. When you enroll, you should be given an estimate which lists all of your debts, the total debt owed to each creditor, the proposed payment to each creditor and the number of months estimated to complete the plan. You should know up-front how long it will take you to eliminate your debt.

The fees charged for your debt management plan will vary from agency to agency. You will usually pay for a copy of your credit report, a small set-up fee and a monthly administration fee. You want to make sure that the monthly fee is less than $50 a month. Be sure that you understand these fees before you enroll. Don’t trust any agency that asks for the first month’s payment up-front or a percentage of your total outstanding debt as the fee.

Most debt management plans require that you include all of your unsecured debts. There are specialized debt management plans designed for small business owners and those with good credit that allow you to keep one or two accounts outside of the plan. Once in the plan, you will most likely be unable to continue to use the accounts.

If a creditor rejects the management proposal, you can try to work with the creditor to reach an agreement. If nothing can be established between the plan and your creditor, you can elect to proceed with the debt management plan without the creditor. However, you will need to make these payments on your own.

Be cautious when choosing a company to work with. Make sure they are licensed and check them with the Better Business Bureau. It is also a good idea to check with your state’s attorney general’s office for any complaints or investigations.This is your financial security you are dealing with. Make a wise decision and then let the plan help you find financial freedom. Debt management plans are a great way to learn how to manage your finances while eliminating your debt.

Martin Lukac