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After three years in the mortgage collection business I learned a lot about the different ways people handle their debt. The crazy thing about it is honest is always the best policy. The debt doesn’t disappear magically so it something that you are going to have to take care of. People have multiple different ways they try to cope with being behind on a bill, most of which aren’t going to do anything but hurt you. The most common ways people deal with being behind are by avoiding it, lying about it, not taking it seriously, being a jerk about it, or allowing it to affect their personal life.

Avoid It

Pretending the debt doesn’t exist and you don’t actually owe it isn’t going to help you and it certainly isn’t going to make the debt go away. To many people try to hide from their debt, fully expecting it to disappear. What people don’t realize is the companies are used to trying to find people and depending on the debt they are more than willing to go to court to have your wages garnished in order to pay the debt back. The best thing you can do is to actually call the company and explain your situation and suggest a reasonable method for resolving the debt.

Lie About It

It was sad how many times people felt like they needed to lie about the reasons they were behind. People’s pride can make them do things which don’t always make sense. I know you didn’t forget to pay the payment for the third month in a row there has to be a problem outside of your forgetfulness.  People are not going to be willing to help you get ahead and get back on track if you can’t be straight with them. Lay it out there for them, explain the problem and why you can’t pay. The worst thing that could happen is you don’t get any help but more likely than not you can work out a plan to get ahead.

Not Take it Seriously

It is a debt you owe, whether or not you take it seriously can massively affect the outcome. The collectors are going to be nicer the more serious you are about working with them. If you laugh about it and act flippant they are going to get increasingly rude and less willing to help. You got yourself into the debt, the least you can do is man up and deal with it.

Be Rude

There is almost never a reason to treat someone poorly. This of course goes both ways so don’t let the collector treat you rudely either. Be nice and you are bound to get further in negotiations for repayment. As the old saying goes “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” In the event you are being treated poorly ask to speak with a supervisor and kindly advise them if you continue to be treated this way you will send them a Cease and Desist letter which will prevent them from contacting you at all.

Hold Out for a Management Position

I have talked to people before who have been out of work for over 6 years. These same people can’t afford to pay for their home or their car and can barely put food on the table to feed their families. They have been running up credit card debt to try to keep afloat but they refuse to get a job doing anything other than the job they lost. I understand you want/need something better but flipping burgers at McDonald’s or stocking shelves at Walmart pays money. That money spends just like the money you get working someplace else. When all else fails you need to do what is necessary to cover your obligations. Sitting and waiting for the “perfect” job isn’t going to pay the bills.

Allow it to Affect You

To often we allow our debts and our bills to define us. We allow the collectors and collection calls to get to us and it starts to affect us on a personal level. The way we deal with our friends and family changes and we start to turn inward more and more to hide our debt, and quite honestly our shame. DO NOT be defined by your debt and don’t allow it affect the way you interact with the people you care for. If you have to be honest about your problems do it. When you start to let it affect you in this way you are losing to your debt.

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