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Maintain your credit score
Always take care of your credit score. No matter how bad your financial situation is, if possible, try not to do anything that will destroy your credit score. You will need it for managing your debt and for any loans and credits you might take in the future. For maintaining your credit score, check credit score solutions.
Debt settlement is one of the last options for getting rid of your debt as it will seriously damage your credit score. But, sometimes it is the best option for you. Basically, your creditors and you agree that you will pay a certain percentage of your debt and it will count as if you repaid your entire debt.
Before using this option, talk to your credit counselor to see if this is the best option for you.
It's not the most pleasant thing to do, but it certainly beats getting a high-interest loan from a bank or credit card company. Explain your situation to your friends and family and if needed, make an official agreement, with notary public present, so the person who lends you the money knows you are serious about repaying your debt to them. If needed, offer a collateral.
While repaying your debts should be a priority, spare a certain amount (as much as you can) for your emergency fund. You never know when will you need it for medical bills or some other situation that requires lots of money right away. Otherwise, you will further increase your debt.
Chapter 7 is suitable for individual or businesses who have no other way to repay their debts except to liquidate their nonexempt property and proceed earnings to their creditors. Certain requirements have to be met for you to file for chapter 7. For more about chapter 7 and to see if you are eligible for it, visit uscourts.gov
Chapter 13 offers you a repayment plan that usually lasts from 3 to 5 years. It's suitable for individuals or small business owners who have steady incomes and are able to repay at least portion of the debt. For more information, visit uscourts.gov.