Many of those who are struggling with debt in Salem typically face two major challenges: they find their own knowledge and experience insufficient to overcome the financial hurdles that they face, or they simply lack the resources to repay their creditors. In both cases, outside assistance may be needed to grant those in such situations a realistic chance to once reclaim control of their finances. For many, that assistance may be bankruptcy. Yet many of the stigmas associated with bankruptcy protection may drive people to see other forms of debt relief.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, some of the more common alternatives to bankruptcy include:

  •          Offering a settlement to creditors: The reasoning behind this is that one’s creditors would rather receive something rather than nothing. However, there are no guarantees that creditors will accept such an offer.
  •          Taking out a debt consolidation loan: Such a loan may allow one to replace several debt payments with a single one. There is risk associated with this decision, though, in that one may have to put up a personal asset such as his or her home as collateral.
  •          Seeking credit counseling: Credit counseling services may act as an intermediary between a debtor and his or her creditors to set up payment plans at lower amounts. Again, however, creditors are not obligated to accept the terms presented.

While these options typically have less of a personal impact than bankruptcy, they come with no guarantee that one will be able to avoid it. In fact, they often are the precursors to it. For example, the Department of Justice points out that credit counseling must be sought from a government-approved service before one can consider personal bankruptcy. One can find a list of such services in New Hampshire by visiting the DOJ website