Banking & Finance Law
What to Do if You Can't Pay Your Bills
- Contact Your Creditors: the first thing that you should do is to contact the creditors that you cannot pay on time and let them know what is happening. While some creditors are more forgiving than others, many creditors will try to work with you to develop a repayment plan that meets both your needs. You may feel like you have no room to negotiate since you are the one who owes the money. However, it costs creditors money to collect on debts and it might be in the creditor’s best interest to extend the life of your loan, decrease your interest or forgive part of the principle amount of the loan. Any of these factors would decrease your monthly payment amount.
- Prioritize Your Bills: Make a list of all of your outstanding bills and prioritize them according to the consequences of not paying them on time. For example, court ordered payments, insurance bills and your mortgage or rent payments should be at the top of your list. If you do not pay your insurance bills on time then your policies will lapse. If you do not pay your housing bills on time then you may be required to move. If you do not pay court ordered payments, such as alimony or child support on time, then you may end up back in court. After those types of bills have been prioritized, your next group of bills should be any loans that you have that are secured by specific pieces of property, such as car loans. If you default on secured loans then it is relatively easy and inexpensive for your creditor to repossess the property and you could lose your car or other possession. Finally, it is important to think about your unsecured loans such as credit card loans. These creditors are often most willing to work with you because it is expensive and time consuming for them to collect on their debts and they want to keep you from entering bankruptcy where they are less likely to recover their money.
- Make Written Agreements with Your Creditors: Enter a written agreement with any creditor who is willing to negotiate with you. These agreements, if properly executed will likely be enforceable in court.
- Seek the Advice of a Bankruptcy Attorney: If the above tactics do not work and you are considering filing for bankruptcy then you should contact a bankruptcy attorney who can advise you about the benefits and consequences of bankruptcy and other methods of managing your debts.