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Nebraska is a vast state of rich farmland and rolling hills stretching as far as the eye can see. It has a long and illustrious history and played a crucial role in the settling of the West. Long an agricultural powerhouse, Nebraska still produces much of the country’s corn, beef, pork and soybeans.

Nebraska has also historically been one of the nation’s transportation centers. Starting with the Transcontinental Railroad, in 1869, Nebraska quickly established itself as a main hub for the transportation of cattle, crops and manufactured goods to and from both coasts of the United States. Many cattle trails, such as the Chisolm Trail, had their terminus in Nebraska. And Omaha was one of the main stops on the Transcontinental Railroad, which ran from San Francisco to the East Coast.

Today, Nebraska continues as one of the most important centers of rail freight in the United States. The Bailey Yard, in North Platte, is the largest rail yard in the world. It’s the central hub for all of Union Pacific’s North American operations and it employs thousands of people, with tens of thousands more being employed by railroads across the state. Nebraska also has a thriving manufacturing sector as well as many insurance and finance companies. These include Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet’s mega holding company, which is headquartered in Omaha.

Nebraska has a phenomenally low unemployment rate of just 3%. Its manufacturing sector has held up remarkably well and, thus, it has an abundance of high-paying, blue-collar jobs that provide a stable means to raise a family.

Despite relatively favorable bankruptcy laws, Nebraska finds itself in the middle of the pack when states are ranked by bankruptcy rates. This is a reflection of its generally strong economy and industrious population.

Still, Nebraska, like all parts of the United States, has tremendous gaps in how the state’s wealth is distributed. There is often stark relief between the haves and the have-nots. With many Nebraskans living paycheck to paycheck, it is inevitable that many will fall into financial crises at some point in their lives. When financial distress comes knocking, it is important to clearly understand all the available options.

Debt settlement is often the option that makes the most sense. A good debt settlement company can accomplish many of the same things as bankruptcy but without the tremendous downsides.

Who is the best candidate for debt settlement?

Debt settlement is one of the most powerful tools in a debtor’s arsenal for fighting intractable debt. There are three main options for dealing with rapidly spiraling debt. They are debt consolidation, debt settlement and bankruptcy. Debt consolidation is most appropriate for those who maintain strong incomes and have the means to pay off their debts but who are suffering under usurious interest rates and high monthly payments. For these people, debt consolidation can reduce monthly payments, interest rates and can even eliminate some of the principal amounts in certain cases.

But debt consolidation should only be used by those who are absolutely sure that they can follow through on the program. That is because, in exchange for maintaining a pristine credit rating and total continuity of one’s lifestyle, debt consolidation trades unsecured, high-interest debt for secured, low-interest debt. This is often done through a home equity line of credit or other loans in which collateral is assigned for the loan amounts.

It cannot be stressed enough that debt consolidation can prove to be a horrible error for those who cannot comply with the program. That’s because if the debtor eventually ends up insolvent and declares bankruptcy, unsecured creditors have no recourse. They lose everything. However, in the case of secured debt, the creditors have first liens on the collateral assets. This means that the debtor could end up losing his car or home in the bankruptcy proceeding. This could result in catastrophic personal outcomes, like needing to move to a homeless shelter.

Debt settlement, on the other hand, avoids all of these perils. Of course, it also has its downsides. Debt settlement involves stopping payment to all creditors and allowing the debts to go into default. This carries the risk of lawsuits, even though the debtor may be complying with every instruction the debt settlement company has given them. Such lawsuits may result, in extreme cases, in garnishment orders or attachments. These can result in bank accounts being wiped out and paychecks evaporating into thin air.

On the other hand, debt settlement can often eliminate up to 75% of the principal amount owed. This can make debts that were previously unmanageable into ones that are easily resolved. While credit scores are often sharply reduced with debt settlement, they can be quickly rebuilt, given optimal credit building behavior.

All this makes debt settlement a very attractive option for those who lack the income to safely undertake debt consolidation. And debt settlement will often accomplish nearly the same thing as bankruptcy, eliminating most of the principal amount owed. But it can accomplish this without bankruptcy’s devastating consequences.