Debt Negotiation – Secrets to Successful Bargaining With Credit Card Companies

Credit card companies will voluntarily reduce your debt balances – if you present the right offer at the right time. Before you make that first offer, however, you need to understand the factors that motivate delinquent debt supervisors at the credit card companies.

In my law office, we often counsel potential bankruptcy clients to hold off on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bill consolidation, and to try to negotiate lower balances and to avoid bankruptcy. Here are some of the techniques and strategies we have learned over the years.

First, you need to realize that to the credit card company, you are a number – an entry on a spreadsheet. Although you may be stressed out because of your credit card balance, no one at the credit card company’s collection office knows who you are or cares about your financial hardship.

The bill collectors employed by the credit card company are trained to use psychology to scare you and intimidate you into paying. Interestingly, the most powerful consumer protection law – the Fair Debt Collection Procedures Act – applies primarily to outside collection agencies, not to in-house bill collectors. This means that in-house bill collectors can use much more aggressive techniques to squeeze you for payment.

Therefore, the first rule for negotiation is to recognize the intimidation psychology and to ignore it. Remember, you have something they want – money – and if they want your money voluntarily, they will have to work with you.

Second, recognize that credit card company collection practices are driven by business models. Mathematical analysis shows that slightly overdue debt is likely to be paid, whereas the older your unpaid account becomes, the less likely that the credit card company will see payment.

As a practical matter, this means that the credit card company will not negotiate with you at all until your unpaid balance is at least three months old. Once a debt falls into the 90 day past due column, the collection percentages go way down. This is generally the ideal time to start your negotiations.

If you let your account go much longer than 90 days unpaid, you run the risk that the credit card lender will turn it over to an outside collection company or send it to a lawyer for lawsuit. These options may or may not impact your negotiation strategies, but they add complications and unknown elements. You can always start new negotiations with one of these new account owners later – at the outset it is best to negotiate with the actual credit card company.

A collateral technique that we have used with some success is to send small payments every 6 weeks or so. The purpose of making these payments is to permit your account to age even more, while keeping it in house. Not every credit card company will hold off on transferring the account but some will.

When you approach the credit card company to negotiate a settlement, your best chance for success will be to have a lump sum equal to about half the balance available. Very few credit card companies will accept payment terms in negotiated settlement. At our law firm, we generally advise against raiding a retirement plan to come up with the lump sum since retirement money is usually considered an “exempt” asset in a bankruptcy and not reachable by any creditors.

If you don’t have the full lump sum, you may be able to work a deal where you break up your payment into two smaller lump sum payments – one paid now and the second in three months.

So, as you start the negotiation process, you will most likely have success when:

1) you step back from any emotional issues you may have with the outstanding balance

2) you treat the negotiation as a straight financial transaction – blame or guilt is not part of the equation

3) the best timing for your negotiation is when your account is at least three months past due, but not yet turned over to a lawyer or outside collection agency

4) you have access to a lump sum equal to about half of the outstanding balance

Should Investors Consider Fund of Funds in their Portfolio?

A Fund of Fund means a mutual fund scheme that invests in other mutual fund schemes. The fund manager invests in other mutual funds instead of directly investing in equities or bonds. The portfolio is catered for investors with different risk profiles and financial goals. The Fund of Funds offers such benefits that the investors gain from the diversification as a result of investing in various fund categories.

The most sought-after Fund of Funds in India are:

Multi Asset allocation fund of funds are mutual funds that invest in and even other asset classes such as gold, equity, debt, and other commodities.
Gold Fund of Funds are funds that have underlying investments in Gold ETFs
International funds are investments in mutual funds that comprise bonds and shares of global companies.
Investing in a fund of funds is a smart choice if one looks into a few aspects.

Advantages

An investor’s investment is diversified across several funds from various sectors..
This investment strategy of the fund of funds in India can helps one to get exposure in some of the top-performing mutual funds even with a limited investment budget.
In case of Fund of Funds, taxation levied is payable by an investor, only when the fund is redeemed. However, both short-term and long-term capital gains are subject to tax deductions in India, depending upon the annual income of the investor and the time of investment.
There is no taxation on fund of funds scheme if Fund Manager rebalances the scheme portfolio.
Disadvantages

The basic meaning of Fund of Funds is that the mutual fund invests in many funds that further invest in several securities. It is quite possible that the Fund of Funds, will own the same stocks and securities through different funds. This reduces the potential for diversification.
The Fund of Fund expense includes expenses of the underlying funds owned by the Fund of Funds.
Who should Invest?

Investors who wish to invest long term may avail of the fund of funds benefits by investing in such funds.
The main aim of the fund of funds in India isto augment returns by investing in a diverse portfolio thus trying to minimise the overall risk.
Individuals with limited financial resources and low liquidity needs which they can spare for a more extended period of time can choose avail of the benefits of a fund of funds. Since such funds invest in different types of mutual funds, the investor also gains access to high-value funds.
Also new investors with limited knowledge looking for a long-term and diversified investment option can invest in such funds.

Starting a Business Online – Low Budget Entrepreneurs

Starting a business on a low budget and hoping for success is an optimistic approach but let’s come to the world of reality and think about chances of your success. What are the chances that your business will prosper and give a positive return soon? Probably 10 to 20% or if you are lucky enough the figure may touch 50%. The risk is too big. Does this mean that you can not fulfill your dream of setting up you own business on a low budget? No, there is a way.

Owing a computer with an internet connection makes it possible for you turn your idea into fruition with increased chances of success. The chances of success are high because you have 1.6 billion people as potential customers on the internet. Isn’t it intriguing?

So, how to start the business online? First and foremost thing is to have a website of your own. Having a website on the internet is just like having a store where you can sell your product to millions of internet users. Investing on a domain name and hosting is probably the only investment that you will have to make to start your business.

The best part of an online business is that you can sell a variety of products from property to perishables. As the budget is low it’s not necessary to create your own products to sale. There is a more economical solution in shape of affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is basically about promoting other person’s product and driving traffic or you my say customers to your website by using all the back and front end channels. By affiliate marketing you can advertise and promote many products at the same time. When ever a product is marketed through your website you get your due share, it’s as simple as that. Affiliate marketing is a proven technique to grow your online business and it is a popular choice among online entrepreneurs.

The most difficult and important part is to generate traffic for your website. After deciding which products you are going to promote the next important thing is to plan on how you are going to market them efficiently. There are several ways to market your website but not every way is suited to market a particular product. Apart from direct marketing you can also contact different companies which send targeted visitors to your website if the budget permits.