Sarah Edwards | October 19, 2022
Summary: If you're struggling with debt in Virginia, SoloSuit can help you find the relief you need.
Virginia is a state of many contradictions. The east coast is lined with beautiful beaches, while the western part of the state houses the Blue Ridge Mountains. In the north, the suburban sprawl of Washington D.C. includes cities such as Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax. In the middle, the capital of the state, Richmond, holds the seat of the government.
There's something for everyone to like in Virginia.
However, one thing that most Virginians can agree on is how expensive it is to live there. The average Virginian carries $3,221 in credit card debt, which is just below the national median.
Aside from credit card debt, Virginians are also facing rising rental costs. In some places, rents have increased by over 20% in the past year. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of incomes, which remain flat. This shift can make it incredibly difficult for individuals to meet regular expenses and pay down debt at the same time.
There are two basic ways to pay down debts. One is increasing your income to get more spending power, allowing you to pay more towards what you owe. The other is reducing your expenses to allow for greater payments towards your debt.
Those who have the extra capacity to take on a side job may find that they are able to pay down their debts faster.
However, if you don't have the time for a second job, then setting up a manageable budget and minimizing your expenses can help you to pay down debts faster.
You'll need to determine your regular income, as well as the mandatory payments you must make for the basic costs of living. Next, find out how much you're spending on things you don't really need.
If you're able to do without or reduce common expenses such as dining out or a daily coffee from Starbucks, you'll find you may have much more saved up at the end of the month. You can use this to put towards your regular credit card payments.
Once you have a good overview of your personal financial picture, you can take steps to decide how much extra you can pay each month towards your overall debt. For this example, we'll assume you have $500 that you can put towards paying down your credit card debts that have minimum payments of $200 each month.
You can choose to arbitrarily vary the extra payments among your credit cards, or you can use a more rewarding (and effective) method known as snowballing. When you snowball, you pay the minimums on all debts except one that you've targeted for payoff.
As soon as this card is paid off, you move on to the next one, using the same procedure.
Snowballing is rewarding because you get a sense of satisfaction every time you pay a new card off. This approach keeps the momentum going until all of your cards are paid off—leaving you credit card debt free!
For those who have decent credit and a little cushion to pay off their debts, a debt consolidation loan may be helpful. This type of loan typically provides a low interest rate and enough money to pay off your credit card debts.
If you have $7,500 in credit card debt with average interest rates of 15%, and you obtain a debt consolidation loan for the same amount with an introductory interest-free period of a year, you can pay off your older debts using your new loan.
Then, you'll have a year to pay down the debt-consolidation loan before a higher rate of interest kicks in. This strategy can be a nice way to save several hundred dollars in interest expenses.
Debt settlement programs work on your behalf to settle your debts for you, usually for a fraction of their overall value. However, take caution before using this option. Make sure you research the programs available and ensure that the company you go with is legitimate.
Also, make a note of their fees. While debt settlement can potentially save you money, you will pay a price for the service. But even with the fee, you can still save hugely if you reach a settlement for 1%-70% of the original debt you owed.
During a debt settlement program, you'll make regular payments to the company for a designated period, usually a few years. At the end of the program, potentially, all of your debts will be repaid at negotiated discounts obtained for you. Keep in mind that it is a creditor's right to determine whether they want to settle or not.
For those unable to pay their debts, bankruptcy may be an option. There are two main types of bankruptcies available to individuals: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy has certain restrictions, so it isn't available to everyone. It's best for those with limited income who have few assets. A Chapter 7 will wipe out most debts, with certain exclusions.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is used by individuals who want to protect their property and don't otherwise qualify for Chapter 7. This type of bankruptcy requires individuals to pay some of their debts, but others may be forgiven.
Before deciding if bankruptcy is the right route for you, make sure that you understand its implications. Bankruptcy can be a serious disruptor to your ability to obtain credit in the future and can be a black mark on your credit record for up to 10 years.
As a Virginian, you may have access to other financial assistance services provided by the state and federal government. If you feel like you're drowning in debt, check out these Virginia debt relief programs to see if you qualify:
Along with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which protects consumers from abusive debt collection tactics, Virginia state law can also protect you.
According to the Virginia statute of limitations on debt, debt collectors have a limited amount of time that they can take someone to court over an owed debt. So, before you make any payments to a debt collector, you should check the statute of limitations on debt in Virginia:
Virginia Statute of Limitations
Deadline in Years
Like we said before, don't make any payments on a debt until you know it's statute of limitations. Doing so will restart the clock on the statute of limitations, and you could end up in court because of it.
If you've been sued for debt, the first step to winning your case is responding. You can respond to a debt lawsuit with SoloSuit's free Answer form, which only takes 15 minutes to fill out.
To learn more about how to respond to a debt lawsuit, check out this video:
SoloSuit makes it easy to fight debt collectors.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
"First time getting sued by a debt collector and I was searching all over YouTube and ran across SoloSuit, so I decided to buy their services with their attorney reviewed documentation which cost extra but it was well worth it! SoloSuit sent the documentation to the parties and to the court which saved me time from having to go to court and in a few weeks the case got dismissed!" – James
You can ask your questions on the SoloSuit forum and the community will help you out. Whether you need help now or are just looking for support, we're here for you.
>>Read the FastCompany article: Debt Lawsuits Are Complicated: This Website Makes Them Simpler To Navigate
>>Read the NPR story on SoloSuit. (We can help you in all 50 states.)
Here's a list of guides for other states.
Being sued by a different debt collector? Were making guides on how to beat each one.
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