Self Help Debt Plans are Like Going to Jail

Bankruptcy Advice for Your Friends

“Self Help Debt Plans”make you feel like you are going to jail and probably can’t help you.

Clark Howard is a “financial expert.”  He is a frequent TV show guest.  He has a “Five simple Steps debt plan”. Suze Orman has a Nine Step Plan. The Motley Fool has a 60-Second Guide for self help debt relief. Wiki How has a Nine step plan. I even found a site that debates whether Dave Ramsey’s Self Help Debt beats out Suze Orman’s self help debt plans. Not surprisingly, it says sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. Gee, that’s helpful, huh?

Self Help Debt PlansAll these Self Help Debt Plans have something seriously wrong with them. If you can’t pay your debts, these plans can’t work unless you have significant amounts of spendable income for debt payments. But if you ain’t got the money, you ain’t got the money. No money means no steps to debt freedom. (Don’t trip over your own feet while you attempt the get-out-of-debt dance routine.)

There’s another thing they have in common. These “Self Help Debt Plans” are just happy talk. Mere fodder for talk show babblers. That’s all it really is. You’ve seen them on the TV talk shows. The host, Oprah or whomever, introduces the “financial expert.” The guest expert quickly summarizes his or her latest “Self Help Debt Plans.” Oh yes, and his or her latest book. The TV host smiles, stands, and starts to clap. The audience sees a sign that says, “CLAP HANDS.” The expert’s time slot is over. The financial expert was there just for entertainment. It was just like showing the audience the latest viral cat video.

If  “Self Help Debt Plans” don’t work, what does work?

The majority of serious debt problems can be fixed. And, fixed legally.

Let’s look at it this way. When you don’t pay your debts,  you will probably wind up in court. The creditors will sue you. But it could also work the other way around. YOU could be taking your creditors to court. You can ask the court to eliminate your debts. The Federal Bankruptcy Court has the legally authorized power to do that. If you can’t pay your debts, you know the likelihood is that you are going to court, one way or the other.

So, take your pick. Would you like your creditors to take YOU to court and kick you around? Or would you rather be the one to take your creditors to court, and ask for the elimination of debts? The only court with the power to do that for you is the United States Bankruptcy Court.

Please, go talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. That is how you will get real help. The TV “experts” are not experts. They are entertainers.



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Leon Bayer and Jeffrey Wishman are Los Angeles Bankruptcy attorneys. They have been practicing bankruptcy lawyers in Los Angeles for 37 years and are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists by the State Bar of California. These are lawyers who bring experience, skill and creativity to the highly complex area of bankruptcy law. At this Los Angeles law firm, the your initial consultation with an expert is free. Mr. Bayer is a coauthor of Nolo's The New Bankruptcy: Will It Work for You?, authors the “Ask Leon” series on Nolo’s Bankruptcy, Debt & Foreclosure blog, and writes on bankruptcy topics for Nolo’s website. In addition, Mr. Bayer devotes a significant number of hours to volunteer legal services. The State Bar of California has commended Mr. Bayer for this work every year since 2004.