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Maryland is a state in which there is ample disparity between the masses. It’s a very wealthy state with some of the poorest people in the country. Maryland is considered wealthy when you compare the average income across the state. The median household income in Maryland is $70,004 per year, which is significantly higher than the national median household income of only $50,502 across the country. Baltimore, however, is exceptionally poor in comparison. The median household income in Baltimore every year is a shocking $38,731.

Despite Baltimore having less credit card debt on average than many other cities in the country, the low household income makes it seem more expensive. The average credit card debt for Baltimore residents is only $4,558. However, more than 7.4% of Baltimore residents are currently unemployed, and more than 23.8% of them live in poverty. With numbers this shocking, it’s not a big surprise so many people want to know more about debt settlement and what it means for their finances.

Debt Settlement isn’t for Everyone

Before you do anything else to get started working with a debt settlement company in Baltimore, get to know the facts. It’s not for everyone. It’s not for anyone with less than $7,500 in debt. It’s not for anyone looking to settle mortgages or car loans. It’s only for those who have debts that are considered unsecured, which means credit cards, student loans, and medical bills. It’s also not for those with good credit who make their credit card payments on time.

Debt settlement isn’t for people who want to get rid of their debt faster by paying less. You can’t just offer a creditor money less than what you owe and hope for a good response. It’s for those who are behind on their payments or have been unable to make payments for several months. It’s not for everyone.

Debt Settlement Laws Are Strict

Baltimore residents should know debt settlement laws are strict. You cannot just offer to settle any debt, and you cannot work with just anyone. The law states you can only settle unsecured debts, and it doesn’t allow you any guarantees. If a creditor decides they’re not interested in settling, the law doesn’t make them settle. They can say no all they want, and there is nothing you can do about it. The one thing the law does protect is you. Debt collectors in Maryland cannot harass you, call you repeatedly, or call your office if you ask them to stop.

Debt collectors have only 3 years to collect a debt using legal means. They can call you and ask you to pay for the rest of your life if they want, but they can only sue you for up to three years following the date you become delinquent. After this, you still owe the money but they can’t do anything about it but report your payments as late and/or derogatory.

Debt Settlement Benefit

The benefits are numerous. You get to pay off your bills for less than you owe, with one interest rate, and you only make one payment. You have a timeline that enables you to know the exact date your debts are paid off, and you get to see your credit improve. This is the biggest benefit. Since you’re looking at debt settlement as an option, your credit is already ruined. Your score is low, your payment history is negative, and your creditors are reporting every late and/or missed payment.

If you settle, they’ll agree to stop making those reports. Your credit score doesn’t get any worse when negative items are no longer being reported, and that allows you to work on improving your score. It’s not always easy, but it’s also not something to give up on.

What you must know about debt settlement is not every company is trustworthy. With so many resources available in Baltimore, it’s confusing knowing which ones are beneficial and which ones are not. The best option is to start with a few companies you want to check out and contact the Better Business Bureau abou them. They are going to provide you with a grade, let you read complaints, and see what you can do to make sure you’re working with a reputable company.

It’s imperative you only work with a settlement company that takes money after they’ve settled your debts. Don’t let them take anything from you upfront. This is never a good sign, and working with them typically means you’re going to end up walking away without your money or a solution to your debt problems. It’s also wise to remain wary of any company telling you they can settle all your debts with a guarantee. They can’t do that since your creditors are legally able to deny your coffers. Knowing where to look and what to expect makes the process easier, and it keeps you safer.