Image: Envato.

Nearly all people will qualify for and use credit at some point in their lives. Opening a line of credit and staying on top of the related payments is the surest way to build your purchasing power. But what happens when the resulting debt becomes unmanageable? Although filing for bankruptcy is a common solution, this manner of debt resolution can have a long-term and decidedly negative impact on consumers' credit profiles. In fact, from personal and business loan denials to immigration delays and loss of assets, claiming bankruptcy can affect your life in numerous ways. Fortunately, there are five easy strategies that families can use to avoid claiming bankruptcy.

1. Have A Professional Debt Assessment Performed

During a professional debt assessment, a seasoned debt consultant will thoroughly examine your entire financial situation. The goal of these efforts will be to provide you with an accurate appraisal of what you owe, and what you are reasonably able to repay. Many people find that this true sum is significantly different from what they initially believed it to be. Whether your debt is larger or smaller than you anticipate, your provider can make knowledgeable recommendations for resolving it while explaining the benefits and drawbacks of each. You can also get needs-specific money management advice for both improving your current circumstances and avoiding unmanageable debt in the future.

2. Try Not To Live Beyond Your Means

As with most things in life, hindsight is 20/20 with debt management. If you are already struggling with overwhelming or unmanageable debt, then there are probably countless changes in your spending that you wish you had made in the past. If you recognize that your current debt load is on the verge of spiraling out of control, these are changes that you need to implement right now. The mental and emotional stress of excessive debt often keeps consumers from taking action. Take the time to write a budget, review your existing budget, and accurately quantify your disposable income. Regularly revisiting your budget and reviewing your spending will help you identify savings opportunities, opportunities to pay more of your existing debt down, and strategies for avoiding additional debt going forward.

3. Leverage Your Assets On Your Own

Overwhelming debt is frequently the byproduct of excessive and unnecessary spending. Sometimes avoiding bankruptcy requires people to take a good look at the assets that they have to determine which of these they do and do not need. During a bankruptcy, fighting asset loss can be a challenging, frustrating, and incredibly time-consuming process. Conversely, opting to offload certain high-value assets on your own can help you avoid all this. Selling a second car, a boat, a recreational vehicle, high-value jewelry, or other items will give you the means to start paying your debts down. More importantly, these efforts will reduce your entire debt load to make avoiding bankruptcy much easier. Many consumers who are considering claiming bankruptcies in Canada or their particular locale may be able to resolve most of their debt-related problems with the assets they already own. Contact a professional to guide you through this process.

4. Consider Debt Consolidation Or Drafting A Consumer Proposal

There are multiple forms of debt relief that consumers can pursue, based upon their current credit standings, their income, their level of debt, and their needs. More often than not, seeking ways to pay off your debt will have a far more positive impact on your long-term financial situation than attempting to legally write your debt off. Debt consolidation companies can negotiate with your creditors to reduce the amount that you're required to pay in interest and late fees. Once your debt load has been reduced to a reasonable sum, many of these entities will offer a consolidation loan. With consolidation, you'll only be responsible for managing a single monthly bill rather than dealing with each creditor individually. These companies can alternatively assist their clients in writing consumer proposals that establish reasonable repayment terms, and put an immediate stop to creditor actions.

5. Better Manage Your Debt And Money

When money troubles arise, seeking professional financial guidance is essential. This is also something that consumers should do long before financial problems exist. Not only will your provider help you avoid overwhelming debt, but this professional can assist you in implementing an aggressive savings and investment plan. With more money stashed away for the unexpected, you can make credit decisions thoughtfully and carefully, and you will always have the means for staying on top of your current credit bills.

There are numerous strategies for avoiding bankruptcy including reaching out to family and friends for personal loans, advice, and other forms of assistance. The best of these, however, take a proactive approach to negotiating with creditors, paying feasible debts down, and making long-term spending changes for improved financial health. By aggressively tackling your debt, you can reclaim your financial freedom and avoid the long-lasting consequences of bankruptcy.

Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.