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Nashville, Tennessee is famous for being the world capital of country music. The big four music production companies, Warner, Sony, EMI and Universal, all have major offices there. Country music’s own Mecca, the Grand Ole Opry, which is located right in downtown Nashville, has served as the genre’s most prestigious performance venue since Country’s earliest days.

But the city’s economy hums to tunes far more eclectic than just twangy steel guitars and laments about dogs and women. The city is home to over 300 health care companies, Gibson Guitars, and a list of Fortune 500 companies too long to list but that include Dell, Bridgestone, Tractor Supply, UBS and Dollar General.

The Nashville Metropolitan Statistical Area comes in 34th in rankings of metro areas by gross metropolitan product, not bad considering the entire area’s population is a relatively small 1,800,000. The city’s unemployment rate is quite low for a major Southern city, at just 4.1 percent. That’s less than the state of Tennessee’s, at 5.4 percent.

But what’s truly astounding about the Tennessee economy is how incredibly hot its housing market has been over the last decade and how far its trends have deviated from national norms. Since 2012, at the Great Recession’s housing market nadir, the median home price has vaulted from $130,000 to nearly $240,000. In fact, between 2007 and 2012, the area’s housing prices only lost around $20,000, almost entirely sparing the city’s homeowners from the wealth-destroying blows of the housing crisis suffered in many other major U.S. cities.

This has had two major effects. The first is that Nashville home owners have experienced dramatic increases in wealth since 2012. Since homes tend to be the middle class version of equities, the middle class of Nashville is doing perhaps better than anywhere else in the country. The second major effect is that, unlike in city after city across the country, the foreclosure crisis didn’t hit Nashville nearly as hard. This has meant that most middle-class families who owned homes in the mid-2000s still own them today. In short, Nashville’s middle class has fared extraordinarily well when compared to their counterparts in other U.S. cities.

Still, all this is only applicable to middle or upper middle class homeowners. Unfortunately, the housing market is a double-edged sword. The skyrocketing home prices have meant that those who don’t own homes have been left behind by an increasingly costly market. The average rental unit in the Nashville area is over $1,600, making it a generally unaffordable place in which to live and work for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. While costs of living are high, the average salary in the state is relatively low, ranking 22nd among U.S. states.

For this and other reasons, Tennessee has routinely led the nation in bankruptcies. With so many Nashville residents facing financial uncertainty, many have opted for a fresh start and declared Chapter 7. But, as many find out, the costs of doing so are steep and can affect people for the rest of their lives. For many, other strategies may accomplish the same goals without all the terrible costs.

For Nashville residents facing unmanageable debt, debt settlement can provide a means of becoming debt free on a short time span, without all the downsides of bankruptcy.

Debt settlement can allow Nashville residents to avoid bankruptcy

One of the most attractive aspects of debt settlement is its ability to accomplish bankruptcy’s main goal, elimination of debt principal, without all the associated costs, like losing one’s ability to get mortgages, auto loans and credit cards for 10 years.

In fact, a good debt settlement company can often negotiate reductions of 50 percent or more in the principal amount owed. This is made possible because the largest debt settlement companies often represent hundreds or even thousands of clients with the largest creditors. With such large numbers at stake, debt settlement companies have direct access to the top decision makers at companies like Capital One, Bank of America and others. A debt settlement offer coming from a large settlement firm can be in the millions of dollars, allowing account managers to clear massive amounts of non-performing debt from their books and from which they would otherwise likely only collect pennies on the dollar. Such offers can be difficult to refuse and can mean that the debt settlement firm’s clients may be lumped in with other debts, thus, being allowed to get a deal that the creditor never would have extended the debtor if they had approached the creditor on their own.

The only requirements for debt settlement to be a viable option are that the debt must be unsecured, consumer debt, the debtor should have identified and corrected any underlying spending habits or budgetary issues that led to the debt accumulation in the first place and the debtor’s income should be sufficient for the debt settlement program to be completed within three years, maximum.

If all these conditions are met, debt settlement will allow the debtor a way to sharply reduce the principal amount owed with little more than a temporary blemish to their credit rating.