If you only have just one or two accounts to settle, it probably won’t be that hard to keep up with what’s going on with the settlement: the balance, offers that have been made, etc. However, if you’re settling several accounts, keeping up with these details might get difficult. Here are some tips that might help you keep your settlements organized.
Organize all your documents and correspondence in a binder or file folders. If you use a binder, you should get tab dividers and make sure you have a hole punch so you can put holes in the documents for storing. Alternatively, you could purchase folders with holes in them and use those folders to store your documents including billing statements, offer letters, acceptance letters, and copies of the settlement payments. If you choose the file folder method, you should keep a file folder for each of your accounts. You might also have a folder for settlements you’re currently working on.
Keep a master list with all your accounts and these details: the balance before the account went past due, the outstanding balance, whether the account is with the original creditor or a collector, the estimated charge-off date, whether you’ve offered a settlement, whether the settlement has been accepted, your ideal settlement amount for each account and the total amount of settlement funds you need to accumulate. You can cross items off this master list once they’ve been accomplished. You could estimate the charge-off date by adding 180 days to the date of your first missed payment.
Keep a log of activity for each account. You could keep this log in each folder with all the other account documents. Or, you might keep all the activity logs together for easier access. You should treat the activity log like a journal for each account. Anytime you take action on the account, you should write down the date and a description of the action you took. For example, you might write down the times you talk to the creditor. Also, you should write a brief discussion of what was discussed in the conversation. If you send a cease and desist or debt validation letter to the collector, you should write that down, too.
Keep a record of how much money has gone to your settlement account. Having this information handy probably puts you in a better position of being able to tell a creditor whether you can make a settlement. You should update the balance when you deposit more money in the account and when you make a settlement payment. You should double check the balance with the bank to confirm that what’s on your records matches what’s in the account.
You should treat your debt settlement like a long-term project. You should keep all your documents organized so you can access them quickly and easily. Organizing and tracking your debt settlement efforts likely keeps you from doing double work such as offering two settlements on the same account and likely helps prevent frustration over the huge effort that’s involved with settlement.
Settling your own debts could be like a part-time job at times. If you feel like you can’t take on the extra work, remember that there are debt settlement companies who could take on the task of settling your debt and keeping up with all the details.