How to Negotiate Down Credit Card Debt Yourself

It’s very easy to start drowning in credit card debt very quickly. All it takes is the loss of a job, large medical bills, or other unforeseen expenses or setbacks to put you on a trail that leads to high interest payments and ultimately financial ruin. However, if you are in over your head currently, there is a way out. You may be able to negotiate down your credit card debt.

The most effective way to negotiate your debt is to call the company yourself. There are many debt consolidation companies out there today, but if you don’t know which one you’re using, they could easily unnecessarily ruin your credit score or charge you unnecessary fees.

When you call your credit company, you have three different avenues you can go down to negotiate your credit card debt. You can ask to have your APR reduced, monthly payments cut back, or even have the total amount of debt you owe slashed. Depending on how far in debt and how far behind on payments you are, there’s several different tactics you can employ.

Try to Lower Your APR First

A high APR can ensure that you will be in credit card debt for a long time. You will never get out of debt spending all your money on interest and not on your principle. This is also one of the easiest things to negotiate with your credit card company because of the cut-throat competition in the credit card market. Calling your company to reduce your payments may even work if you’re not yet behind on payments. Being a paying, loyal customer may even help you with lowering your APR.

To accomplish this, call your bank and tell them that you’ve gotten either a better offer from another credit card or a balance transfer offer. Most times your bank will be willing to negotiate down to a lower rate for you to keep you as a customer. However, if your interest rates are high because you’ve missed several payments, this tactic may not work. Your company may be reluctant to lower your rate until you’ve proven that you can pay on time.

Next Try to Lower Your Monthly Payment

If you are late on your bills, but haven’t yet been referred to a collection agency, the surest way to get rid of some of your debt burden is to attempt to negotiate your monthly payments. The goal is to get your payment low enough that you can live and don’t have to run up any more credit card debt. Be warned, however, that paying off less of your principle each month means you’ll be in credit card debt much longer than if you could make the full payment.

When you call your company, make sure that you are prepared, especially if you’re not yet late on your payments. List out all the reasons you cannot make your payments, and don’t be afraid to try to pull on a few heartstrings. Your account manager will be much more willing to lower your payments if you make a convincing argument.

Negotiating Down the Debt You Owe

If your account is in collections, that is you are so behind on your payments your account has been turned over from the credit card company to a collections company, negotiating away some of your debt may be an option for you. If you are able to make a lump sum payment for a certain percentage of your debt, the company in most circumstances will accept it.

This is because when your account has passed into collections, the goal of the collections company is to receive some kind of money from you. As your account becomes more and more past due and the collection agency’s chances of receiving any payment become less and less, they are more likely to make a settlement. The fact that your account is so far past due is proof that you are a risk for non-payment. This makes it in the collection agency’s best interests to accept a lump sum payment from you because it is a sure thing. Otherwise they may not get any money in the future at all.

While this may seem like an easy way out, you should not let your accounts go into collection just because you are having trouble paying your bills. Debt negotiations DO go on your credit report and include how much was negotiated away. This can worsen your credit score and make getting a loan in the future harder and more expensive. However, this credit report hit you take from debt negotiation is far less than that you would take if you declared bankruptcy.

Church Hurts – Past and Present – Finding Resolutions

Christians love one another, right? Well, that’s the theory. Perhaps that’s why church hurts sting more than most when they occur. Not only are relationships tearing at their heart, but there’s the ‘God factor’ ripping through the divide.

Typical exasperated voices that traverse minds of hurt hearts:

1. “How could this happen to (or ‘in’) a church?”

2. “Why would they treat me this way?” says the exiting pastor, knowing no other trade (nor calling in life) than ministry, blindsided by a fickle church vote that ousts him/her.

3. “When did my pastor suddenly decide he/she doesn’t like me?”

Pastors and church leaders are particularly susceptible to hurts – due their commitment and situations of congregants lacking appreciation – but they affect everyone who attends a place, and comes to a community, where trust is supposed to be easy; a ‘given’. Those hurt find their trust displaced for resentment that clings fast. Trust can’t be manufactured.

When Church Hurts

The present-tense is handled first. How difficult is it to remain somewhere that’s not welcoming? And the feeling of ‘welcome’ is a felt-thing. We feel welcome (and loved) or we don’t.

Honesty and courage (honesty being a manifestation of courage) is vital. If honesty is not possible, for whatever reason, it makes situations intolerable. But how many tolerate the intolerable? Sometimes there’s no fix other than to start afresh – so long as we’re not continually church-shopping.

Being honest with a godly leadership is a way through, provided what goes with it is a mature approach to problem-solve. Transgressions (both ways) can be apologised for and forgiven. Ways forward can then be discussed.

Still, there are situations that are just plain difficult with no solution in sight.

Resolving Past Hurts – the Past

Churches are not just made up of Christians, but fallible, hurt-worthy human beings. Not only have people perhaps been hurt by churches and experiences with Christians, everyone has their share of brokenness that’s brought to the table. Dealing with hurt adults is not unlike dealing with children. We’re ‘back there’ in a flash.

‘Sandpaper ministry’ might sound like a character-building exercise, but when hurts are retained – and the temptation is always there – our experience of implicit trust goes south, and with it the intimacy of rapport.

Any time vacant thought about these experiences bridges minds it reinforces the damage. The deep though unvoiced emotion unfolds repetitively – thousands of times. A spiral of hurt attends. The trap is laid.

Awareness and Action

Making something of the hurt and doing something about it also requires honesty and courage – humility driving it. The only way out of these situations (when we’re ready) is through a hard-nosed push to break clear. Admitting the hurt is an important first step (and if someone feels hurt, they’re hurt).

Action is involving others. It’s trusting trustworthy people to share with. Not tolerating the wrangling hurt one second longer than necessary; that’s action.

But balanced with the action is gentility. Compassion is always the key; from those supporting, and for those hurt to be able to have the utmost compassion on themselves during the process.

5 Must-Knows About Making a Strong Presentation

If your position requires you to frequently conduct presentations, there is no argument that you must know how to give a presentation persuasively. There is also no barney that strong business presentation skills and steep career growth are directly proportional. However, public speaking is consistently ranked as the number one fear that people harbor.

“According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.” – Jerry Seinfeld

From my experience of conducting presentation skills training program for over 1000 people, I have identified 5 tips that will help you to convert your fear to positive energy:

1. Be Organized: A good presentation begins with raw data and well- researched information and is augmented by personal opinion and colourful language. In short, a successful presentation has a distinct personality that’s structured and timed extremely well.

2. Remember The Three C’s: When you’re making a presentation, you must remember to speak with confidence, clarity and conviction. While nervousness is justified, it’s worth remembering that as the presenter, you’re the one who has control over the room, so everything you talk about must exude confidence and conviction. If you don’t believe in what you’re talking about, neither will anyone else. And remember to enunciate!

3. Make it Personal: If you’ve ever watched a TED Talk, you’ll have noticed that very few things work as well as a story does. Oral traditions and story-telling cultures continue to thrive to this day because as human beings, we connect with each other through the stories we share. To keep things interesting, and the audience engaged, support your presentations with your own anecdotal evidence. Share the process, the results and what you’ve learned from them, and for added measure, use humour to drive home the point you’re trying to make.

4. Review the Details: Deliverance is always in the details. If you’re using visual aids and slides, remember to keep things subtle. Pick a background colour that’s not too loud or too bright and use simple, sans-serif fonts. The idea is to make the audience focus on you and the information you’re sharing, not distract them from what really matters. By the way, skip the bells and whistles as well. While it’s tempting to add in graphics and fades between slides, there is such a thing as overkill.

5. Practice, practice, practice: And then go back and practice some more. Regardless of whether you’re an expert in your field or know all the statistics like the back of your hand, stage fright is a very real thing. The more you practice, the more familiarity you’ll develop with your content and be able to time it better. This is the time to decide whether you’ll want to leave room for audience questions or go straight through to the end.

Of course, if you are still stymied, signing up for soft-skills training with a focus on corporate presentation skills training will help you immensely in gaining the confidence you need. There are several organizations out there that offer these training courses, so do not hesitate to ask for help at the right time.