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When Bad Things Happen to Good People ...

Bankruptcy May Be Your Option

A hierarchy of strategies for coping with high debt levels

Getting into serious debt is in at least one way like putting on unhealthy amounts of extra body weight: it's easy to add on to it, but taking it off requires more effort and sacrifice, and sometimes it can seem almost impossible to get back to where you were before things started getting out of hand.

People getting in over their heads when it comes to personal debt loads is something as old as the existence of money. Many of the ways to get out of debt are well-established. Indeed, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has a website that not only reviews and explains these debt reduction methods, but also prioritizes them for you

Some of these methods are common-sense, almost deceptively so, such as "Developing a budget." This is the fiscal equivalent of telling an overweight person to count calories: easy in theory, but for many people hard to do consistently.

Another simple strategy is to talk directly to your creditors. Many people may shy away from this, but many creditors are actually grateful that a debtor in trouble is proactive and seeks to work with them instead of going into hiding.

If budgeting does not work and contacting creditors is not your preference, some companies and other organizations offer to perform debt reduction services for you, ranging from credit counseling to debt management and debt settlement services.

Sometimes these can be helpful, but you always need to approach such third-party solutions carefully: some of them are more interested in helping themselves than you, and creditors are not necessarily inclined to go along with what they propose on your behalf.

Finally, there is always the final option of personal bankruptcy, which is in some ways like a nuclear bomb for debts: it will wipe out most or all of them, but like radioactive fallout its residual effect on your credit can last for years.

If you live in Oklahoma and have found yourself in an untenable debt situation, and you are contemplating third-party solutions, it may be helpful to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to learn more about your options before making a final decision. Such an attorney can help you to better understand the effects of your possible choices, and in the case of bankruptcy can help you to navigate through the process.

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