When a person or a business finds themselves in a situation where they are unable to repay their debts, they are in a state of bankruptcy. The bankruptcy process begins when the debtor approaches the court system by filing a petition. Bankruptcy sometimes allows a person to start fresh. At other times it allows the debtor to offer some recompense to those who are owed depending on what assets or resources are available. Either way, it is just about the worst scar that can be made on the financial history of anyone. When debts start to become unmanageable, immediate action needs to be taken to avoid bankruptcy.
Immediately, when you start to fall behind on payments or when creditors start to call, you must take action. Sell everything you can put your hands on: Books. CDs. Computer. Electronics. Home Entertainment Devices. Jewelry. Anything to raise cash to put towards bills. Nowadays, the internet offers many ways to sell stuff. If you cannot sell things directly, sell them online. Amazon, Craigslist, and eBay are starting points.
What skills do you have beyond your job? Sometimes hobbies or carpentry or plumbing skills offer excellent opportunities to supplement your income. If it is available, work overtime. Take a part-time job. The internet also has e-businesses that work as talent and employment agencies for free-lancers. You can be a virtual assistant, build links, write content, do coding or programming. Elance and oDesk are examples. Some sites allow you to write and post an article of general interest and they will pay you a small amount for each visitor the article gets. It can add up.
Do not be afraid to be upfront and candid. Let your creditors know what you are faced with. The creditors are folks just like you and they may have been through such a period themselves. What is important is that you let them know your willingness, your resoluteness to pay and how you intend to do it. If possible, ask them to lower interest rates or monthly fees. You might be surprised at their willingness to help.
Borrowing money from family or friends is often not a good idea. Consider their lives and their problems. But, if there is a likelihood, take a good look as to what you should ask for and how you would intend to repay it. Write out the plan and show it to the prospective friend or family member. Show how you would repay them and stick with it. If some of your folks can help you with some cash, you may want to use some of the money to approach a lawyer.
Debt settlement is something you will want to avoid under normal circumstances. But anyone on the brink of bankruptcy is not exactly normal. If you must choose between bankruptcy and settlement, choose settlement. Never rely on debt settlement companies. They are not very effective and they often cost more time and money than they're worth. Don't settle on current debts. Focus on those that have been charged off or sent to collection. As with any settlement, pay when you have agreed to pay.
Taking these steps of self-analysis and immediate action may very well help you avoid bankruptcy. Just do not sit around hoping everything will work out. Things will only get worse. Take action immediately.