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What Is Debt Internment?

Sarah Edwards | November 09, 2022

Sarah Edwards
Legal Expert
Sarah Edwards, BS

Sarah Edwards is a professional researcher and writer specializing in legal content. An Emerson College alumna, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the prestigious Boston institution.

Edited by Hannah Locklear

Hannah Locklear
Editor at SoloSuit
Hannah Locklear, BA

Hannah Locklear is SoloSuit’s Marketing and Impact Manager. With an educational background in Linguistics, Spanish, and International Development from Brigham Young University, Hannah has also worked as a legal support specialist for several years.

Debt may feel like a prison, but you can break free and find financial freedom.

Summary: Debt internment is the state of being imprisoned by debt. While this practice doesn’t actually occur in society today, the idea is more of a metaphor. You can feel imprisoned by your debt, but there are ways to fight it off. Paying off your bills, trying debt consolidation or settlement, and even bankruptcy are all options to help you free yourself from the metaphorical chains of debt.

Many imagine prison as a lonely, desolate place filled with hardened and dangerous criminals. They picture inmates in orange jumpsuits following a dreary routine from sunup to sundown, sustaining themselves on plain food from the prison cafeteria.

It’s possible to create your own prison for yourself, even without committing a crime. Debt internment, or debt prison, is typically self-inflicted. Those suffering in a theoretical debt prison are overwhelmed by debt and spend most of their waking hours working toward paying it off.

They have little time for joy or happy moments with friends and family. Instead, each day is a simple checkbox on the calendar, marking their efforts to pay down debt.

How do people succumb to debt internment?

Debt internment doesn’t happen immediately. It’s a slow process that typically starts once a person becomes financially independent from their parents. They take on a job and begin to face the everyday challenges in adult life, such as renting an apartment and buying a car.

Hardships happen; the person finds their vehicle needs significant repairs, or they require a stay in the hospital. They take on a credit card or two to support their additional costs.

Perhaps their company downsizes, and they suddenly find themselves without a job. They take out a loan to get by while they look for another position, and their expenses continue to mount.

Suddenly, life isn’t as fun anymore. They have bills to pay or even a family to take care of. Rather than looking forward to a relaxing weekend or an extended vacation, they use their free time hustling in the gig economy or working a second job.

The person has found themselves in debt internment, and it’s a bleak place to be.

Is debt internment avoidable?

Yes. Debt internment is preventable by making sound financial decisions and avoiding taking on lots of debt.

Establishing a savings account that you can rely upon in times of hardship is critical. Once you build your savings, you can use this fund to pay for unexpected expenses like medical bills or car repairs.

Preventive actions are essential, but so is making the right purchases. Buy items that align with your budget and keep your credit costs to a minimum.

If you spend money on things you can’t truly afford, you’re more likely to end up in debt internment.

Most people find that the things that make them truly happy are cheap—spending time with friends and family, relaxing outdoors, or dedicating time to their favorite hobby. The thrill of expensive material items tends to wear off, especially once regular debt payments set in.

How can I get out of debt internment?

If you’ve created debt internment for yourself, there are ways to get out. Your internment isn’t a life sentence, and you have the means to escape.

You can use a laser focus to work toward paying off your bills, try debt consolidation or settlement, or file for bankruptcy.

Work toward paying off your bills

If you want to pay off your creditors without damaging your credit, you should cut as many expenses as possible and devote all of your extra money toward paying down debt.

Many people use the snowball method to pay off debt. First, list all of the debts you owe, their current outstanding balances, and their minimum payments.

Tackle the debt with the smallest balance first, devoting all of your excess cash toward paying it off while continuing to make minimum payments on your other debts. After you pay off the lowest debt, put that payment toward the next-smallest debt.

The snowball method allows you to benefit from momentum. As your debts disappear, your motivation builds. Soon, you’ll find yourself hacking away at just one or two manageable payments — until even those are gone, and you are finally debt free.

Try debt consolidation

Debt consolidation involves taking out a large loan whose sole purpose is to pay off all of your debts. This method is best for those with good credit who can obtain a loan covering all their obligations. With debt consolidation, you make a single monthly payment to your new lender, which should save you interest costs.

Try debt settlement

Debt settlement is the process of negotiating your debts with your lenders for a lesser amount. If your lenders agree, you’ll make a lump-sum payment toward your debts for a savings of 40% to 60% off your original balance.

SoloSuit can help you settle your debts and save hundreds—even thousands—of dollars. To learn more about how to reach a debt settlement, check out this video:

Consider bankruptcy as a last resort

Finally, bankruptcy is a legal process that can eliminate most of your debts, except tax liens and federal student loans. If you want to declare bankruptcy, you’ll need the assistance of a lawyer who can tell you whether you qualify.

Both debt settlement and bankruptcy have negative implications for your credit report that may impact it for years or more. However, if you’re successful with them, you’ll break free from the chains of debt internment.

Example of debt internment

Now that we've explored some ways of how to free yourself from debt interment, let's consider an example.

Example: Jason found himself in financial distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, having lost his job and fallen behind on several payments and bills. It wasn't long before Jason felt like he was in debt prison. He couldn't stop thinking about all the late payments and how it would affect his credit and future. Eventually, Jason got sued by his credit card company. To respond, Jason used SoloSuit to draft and file an Answer. He then used SoloSettle to negotiate a setltement offer with the company. SoloSettle helped Jason explain his situation to the collectors, and they were willing to settle for a payment of 60% of the original debt amount. Jason felt his burden become much lighter, and he finally felt hope for a better financial future.

What is SoloSuit?

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.

Respond with SoloSuit

"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

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