Break the Chains of Debt. A Simple Guide On How to Become DEBT FREE. By Gregory Mannarino
Break the Chains of Debt. A Simple Guide On How to Become DEBT FREE.
By Gregory Mannarino
Just imagine for a moment not owing money to anyone, trust me it is a great feeling and I want you to feel that way all the time. Breaking the chains of debt is freeing yourself from a terrible form of indentured servitude. When we are in debt, we become slaves to servicing that debt for years, as well as paying multiples on the initial principal and this my friend is a sure-fire way to stay broke for life. Now I am not talking about a home loan, a car loan, or a student loan. Each of these types of loans fall into a totally different type of debt, and these are not necessarily bad. However, I would consider every type of unsecured debt as bad debt in the sense that these types of loans can never create equity/wealth over time, unless of course a loan of this type is used to buy an asset which can be sold for profit. However, it is these types of loans (unsecured) which we can easily get out from under, and that is what this chapter is all about! Truthfully, I love this stuff, and even if the credit card companies and banks were to offer me cash not to put this information in print I would probably refuse, unless it was a real lot of it I suppose! I have heard someone say, “money is the root of all evil,” however I would say being in debt due to the lack of money is the root of all evil. Having wealth is comfortable and I am not going to lie about it. I enjoy having money and being able to acquire assets. People do not need a lot of cash; they just need enough to cover bills comfortably without having to struggle. But not having money enough for your expenses can be devastating across the board. So, what’s our plan? Simple. Our plan for getting you debt free involves a straightforward strategy and I am going to begin to outline it for you now. First, I want you to gather all your unsecured debt together and obtain statements on each of your accounts. I want you to now place them in order from the lowest amount owed to the highest. What we are going to do is tackle the smallest accounts first and I will tell you why. If you begin to get a handle on this and start to see progress it will be an emotional boost for you. Beginning today you are NOT going to stop paying these bills, what you are going to do is each month send just five dollars to the lender when your bill arrives regardless of what the actual bill is for, and you will do this for all your accounts across the board. This serves two purposes and the first is this: it’s a good faith offering to the lender which keeps you from becoming an enemy of that said lender. Keeping a relationship with the lender is important and we will go over why later. The second purpose in sending the lender a good faith payment is it will keep you out of trouble, what I mean by that is this: if you cut off all communication with a lender and do not at least make a good faith payment, the lender can and often will win a legal judgment against you for the loan/line of credit in total. If this happens you will then be forced to pay the loan. If a judgment is won against you in that circumstance, the loan will be either placed as a lien against property you may own or taken directly out of your paycheck. So, let’s stick to the plan I am laying out for you. Now, the lenders are not going to like that you are doing this, and they will begin to call you to get you to increase your good faith payment up to the minimum amount of the bill. Now in truth you do have a choice here and let’s go over that now. You can choose to talk to them or not, my advice is talk to them. Explain that you can only afford to pay five dollars a month, do not get angry and keep your cool. Remember I want you to keep a reasonable relationship with them. Some people cannot tolerate the phone calls as you will get them, and they can be very annoying, even harassing. If you really cannot deal with them or if they begin, call your place of work you can send them a cease-and-desist letter via fax and legally they cannot call you after that point. However, I want you to try and deal with the calls and stick to your story that you cannot afford to send them anymore. If you cut off all communication with the cease-and-desist letter it will make it harder for you to deal with the lender later. Keeping communication with the lender is a ploy you are using to establish a “working” relationship with the lender which you are going to use to your advantage later. Now regardless of that, they are going to attempt to scare you with threats of late fees and interest rate increases however do not be intimidated, if you stick with this plan, they have no recourse, and you are in control. The late fees and interest rate increases do not matter at all, more on this later. Now over the next few months I want you to accumulate some cash, once you have saved about 25 percent of the loan you are going to call the lender and make them an offer to settle the account. If you have done this within six months of beginning this process the loan most likely has not “charged off” yet, that is the lender still owns the loan. If a loan charges off, that means the lender has sold your loan to a collection agency or secondary party who has bought your loan for pennies on the dollar and now you will have to deal with them at that point. It really does not matter who you deal with, either the original lender or the collection agency/secondary party, it will still work out nearly the same for you in the end. If you can work with the original lender before the loan charges off you can often get a better deal, but if you can’t, don’t worry about it. So whatever time frame you work out, and whether you are dealing with the initial lender or a secondary party you will establish communication and make them an offer to settle the account. Most often you can settle any unsecured debt for 40 percent of the initial loan, any late fees which have accrued will be removed in total as you settle. Now you may be able to settle these accounts for much less than 40 percent of the principal. I had a $25,000.00 line of credit with Bank of America which I settled for $6,000.00, that’s just 25 percent, but on average you will be able to negotiate for 40 percent of the principal. You have other options as well, once you do reach a settlement on the account(s) you do not have to pay them off at that time unless you want to, you have 3 months to do it. So, let’s say you owe ten grand on account XYZ, and you settle for four thousand, (forty percent), you can split this into 3 payments with no fees or interest. If you have multiple accounts with unsecured debt, you can repeat this scenario for each one until you are debt free. Once the lender or secondary party (collection agency) settles with you, you are legally free and clear from any obligation towards the said debt(s) forever ah yes! So, you had no idea it was this easy, did you? And this is what all those companies who advertise offering “debt relief” are counting on, you not being aware. Glad I could help! Now it is time to repair your credit. By getting yourself debt free in this manner and saving yourself enormous amounts of capital, your credit score will be affected negatively but fixing your credit score is a snap to do! Keep this in mind that the credit reporting agency’s which are Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax; sole job is to simply collect information and then sell that information to anyone who wants it. These credit reporting agencies do not care if the information which they collect is accurate or not. My advice to you at this point is this: while you can do what I am going to outline next for yourself, consider hiring a reputable credit repair agency and why? Because they are cheap to hire, some as low as $29 dollars a month, and if this is not done properly it can take much longer to repair your credit. On average the credit repair agencies can fix your credit in a year or two at most, if you do this yourself it can take twice that. Here is how it works and again you can do this yourself, but I do not recommend it. You obtain your credit report, and this can be done easily via several online sources. If you decide to go this on your own, you simply dispute each negative comment which will be placed there by each of the lenders you have settled with. These will show up as charge offs, settled for less than full amount, late payments, and other negative things. You simply write a letter to each reporting agency stating that the information is inaccurate. The agencies by law must now investigate your claim and how they do that is this: they contact the said lender to verify whether the information is correct, if the agency does not hear back from the lender within 90 days the negative information is removed, and your credit score improves. It is that simple. You can repeat this over and over until the negative item is eventually removed. Now there is a pattern to this, and for you to get the quickest result this pattern must be followed, and this is where hiring a credit repair agency can be beneficial as they know how to work the system. But before you hire a credit repair agency do a little research online about the agency’s performance. Most of the agencies are legit and will help you with repairing your credit and the price they charge is worth what you get out of it. Alright now, one more thing. Come tax time you receive a statement from your now previous lenders which will detail your “discharged debt,” what this represents is the amount of cash which was removed from your debt. For example: say you had a five-thousand-dollar balance which was settled for two thousand, Uncle Sam now counts the difference which in this case would be three thousand dollars as income and will tax you on it. Total nonsense, right? I agree, but that's the way it is. Still, overall, you will have saved yourself thousands of dollars. Heck, maybe I should charge more for this book? What do you think? Section 17 So Now That You Are Finally Out of Debt, Now What? You are going to re-program your brain to think like a successful and prosperous person does, and this is not an easy thing to do because like most Americans since a very early age your thought processes have been hard wired to be average, which is the opposite of successful or prosperous. Your brain has been trained to conform and live your life as the average person does, virtually assuring that you will always remain this-just average. In the past being an average American was not such a bad thing, but today it is a totally different animal. Today forty four percent of the population of the United States receives some type of government assistance and that is just simply ridiculous. The average person has little or no net worth, and if this person were to lose his or her job at best, they could survive 1.5 months off any acquired savings and this is just pathetic as well. OK, now that you have a straightforward plan to begin taking your life back from the slavery and anxiety of being in debt, you need to develop a picture in your mind of how you want your life to be. Forget about living in the moment anymore, because it was that type of thinking which got you into the situation, you’re getting yourself out of right now. It is time for you to begin to think long term. Children live in the moment and so do most adults, and that is why so many Americans are in such dire financial condition. A successful person almost never lives in the moment, their mental world is expansive and is multidimensional. The simplest way to show you an example of how an average and unsuccessful individual goes through life is this: watch the way they walk through a public place. Sounds crazy? Allow me to explain: the average adult walks with their head pointed in one direction with their eyes fixed in one position, rarely looking at anyone or anything, and seemingly oblivious to their surroundings. In contrast, a successful person who is master of his/her domain almost never behaves like this. As he or she walks they are constantly observing, listening, making brief eye contact with other people, perhaps sharing a smile, or saying hello to people whom they have never met, getting involved in the situation, even if it just a simple walk. A successful person is engaged with life and knows how to live it. This pattern of behavior pervades every aspect of a successful person's character and therefore bleeds off into everything they do, and into every person they meet. For you to rise above that which society expects of you, that is be a conformer who simply follows and does not lead, drastic changes across the board are going to have to be made by you and it all begins with an attitude. You must purge yourself of decades of being forced into accepting societal dictation on what you are supposed to be, average, and forge your own path towards a lifestyle which you desire to achieve. The easiest way to start to do this and begin to think “outside of the box” is simple: do the opposite of what the average person does. For example: when it comes to trading or investing, a professional generally gets in on the opposite side equation, that is if the public is acquiring an asset or “bullish,” the pro is looking to get in on the short side of the trade. And conversely, if the general attitude towards an asset is “bearish” the pro is looking to get into the long side of the trade. Now keep in mind with financial assets as presented in the scenario above, the pro most likely is taking up positions on both sides of the equation or “hedging” to maximize gains while at the same time limiting any possible losses. This situation can also play out regarding situations in everyday life that is a rich or successful person does not follow the heard, ever. What a prosperous person does is perform the opposite of what is generally expected of them and hedge themselves to make the best out of every situation, and this is exactly what you should be doing starting today. Next, learn to observe don't just look at things, focus on them, gain knowledge of whatever it is you are looking at and try to think about why it is that this thing caught your attention in the first place. Observation exercises allow your brain to work independent of conscious thought and after a while of doing this you will be simply stunned as to how such a simple thing, observation, will begin to affect the way in which your brain allows you to process information. Starting today it is imperative for you to begin to allow your brain to process unconscious thought, and you will do this by simply observing. Next, learn to listen. I do not care how smart you may think you are, in fact if you believe you are smart enough and know more that everyone else the truth is you are probably the stupidest person in the room. Me, I never think like that, I realize clearly that I have a lot to learn from every person I meet and that is the attitude I want you to adapt right now. Once you start to listen to people and not just hear them, an entire new world will open for you. Next, engage in conversation. Engaging in conversation with people once you learn the skills of observation and listening is going to transform you like you cannot believe. Once you can observe and listen, each conversation you have is going to be incredibly rewarding for you. I also want you to start asking questions! People today do not want to “look stupid,” so they do not ask questions. In my opinion not asking questions is one of the stupidest things anyone can do! An inquisitive person is a thinking person. Next. Never, and I cannot stress this enough NEVER! Prejudge anyone. A vast percentage of people worldwide have developed a horrid psychological issue, and that is the prejudgment of people based upon a plethora of things. Think about it for a moment, do you prejudge people? I want you to as of this very moment cease to do that. This type of thinking stifles free thought perhaps more than anything else. It is also this type of thinking which places you at a great disadvantage. By cutting yourself off from others for whatever reason you are not allowing yourself to grow intellectually, and while others are continuing to develop in this manner you will be stagnated. It is you then who will be prejudged by others and thought of as ignorant. People will isolate you, and not want to be involved with you. If you have a particular issue with a specific type of person, I want you to consider why that is. Then as an exercise I want you to go out, find a bench somewhere and locate a person or group of people who fit into your predetermined mental picture, sit there and without being overt about it observe that person/group of people. I then want you to engage in conversation with a person fitting into your predetermined criteria, listen to and know that person. I know for a fact that after you do these things you are going to shock yourself and understand why I am telling you that prejudgment of a person or class/creed etc. etc. of people is not hurting them, it is destroying you. A successful individual is always seeking to engage and be involved with others at every level and create a persona of approachability, people find themselves drawn to individuals who display these qualities. Moving on. After and not before you create this new you so to speak, I want you to again envision how you want your life to be. If you have allowed your brain to process unconscious thought by breaking the mold which society has pressed you into, it will be your mind which will lead you on the path of prosperity. Allow me to explain at this point without conscious thought believe it or not, simply by reprogramming your brain the path to success will be literally laid at your feet. Subconsciously your mind will process thoughts which will direct your actions leading you down a road of happiness and success. Doors which had been closed to you for years, perhaps forever up until this point, will simply open for you. All this and much more will have all come about by simply altering your conscious thought, which subsequently will allow your unconscious thought to help you achieve your true self. Section 18 Own So you want the cheesecake as well, don't you? OK, I will give you a taste. The average American rents, borrows, and leases, his or her way through life and in the end has nothing to show for it. That is the definition of how to stay broke, indentured, and miserable. Let's lay this all out; renting equals broke; Borrowing equals indentured; And Leasing equals miserable. Any questions? Now as I have been saying, if the average person is doing a particular thing, you as a successful person should be doing the opposite of what they do and that is OWN things and acquire assets. Why are rich people rich? They own, it is that simple. I am not going to debate on whether now a good time is to purchase a home, but all things being equal the benefits of owning a home greatly outweigh the prospect of renting one. I will elaborate: if you choose to rent you are investing in another person’s future, not your own, and every single dollar you put towards renting that property is gone. Conversely, if you owned that same home each dollar used to pay the mortgage is recoverable. That is when the time comes for you to sell your home a large percentage if not all the monies vested up to a potential profit exist and therefore you have in fact lived in the home for free. Now if that is not a major benefit over renting, I sincerely do not know what is. Rich people rarely acquire unsecured debt, almost never actually, and the only time they lease a vehicle is if it can be written off as a business expense. If you lease a vehicle the scenario is almost the same as if you rented a house, in the end you get nothing but an empty garage. Let's say you purchased a vehicle, car, motorcycle whatever, and the amount borrowed was 30K. An average monthly payment on a loan of this type would be around $650.00 over 4 years. Now let us assume 4 years have passed and you are just tired of the old thing and decide to sell it. Some nice fella comes along, and you agree to let it go for 15K. In essence that vehicle only cost you $325.00 a month because at the end of the loan the vehicle had equity in it. Now, if you had decided to lease that same vehicle for the same term, 4 years, your payments maybe would have been somewhere around $500.00 a month, a bit less however, in the end when you returned the vehicle you would be out the entire amount, $500.00 a month x 4 years. So, the new you does not rent, would not even consider borrowing, and laughs at people who lease. Any more questions? So, you want to acquire substantial wealth, OK this is not as hard as you may think it is my friend. The first thing you need to do once you are debt free and have fixed your credit is begin to acquire assets, own things. Obtain a home of your own, buy a car, and obtaining these things is going to be so much easier for you once you liquidate your unsecured debt and improve your credit score as I have outlined for you. So, by definition eliminating your debt burden has paved the way for you to gain real wealth. Having this bad debt off your credit report is also a major boost for you and that will allow you to obtain better terms on any subsequent “good” debt you may acquire. Good debt exists, the kind in the financing of a home for example, or vehicle although to a lesser degree because the vehicle will more than likely depreciate in value, however it will still retain some value. At this point you should also be looking into investment vehicles and there are many.