Off the top of your head, you can easily tell all the loans you took out in the past few months. However, stretch this period to a year or more and most people will have a problem recollecting all their debts.
There’s nothing unnatural about forgetting your debts. If you default on a debt and the lenders stop bothering you, you’re likely to forget about it. Unfortunately, these debts don’t often go away.
If you’re currently in an “I need to know how to find out all my debts” situation, it’s probable that you want to rebuild your credit, and you’ve realized that your credit won’t grow if all your outstanding debts aren’t paid.
Regardless of your situation, it’s possible to figure out all your debts. Continue reading to learn more.
How to Find Out All Your Debts
1. Your Credit Report Is a Good Place to Start
If you want to have a clearer picture of your debt situation, getting a copy of your credit report is an ideal place to start.
Legally, you’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report once every year. Go ahead and request one if you haven’t. And if you have already used up your free spot, it doesn’t cost much to request another copy.
Once you have your credit report, comb through it. You should be able to see all your credit accounts, along with outstanding balances.
If you defaulted on a loan, it’s likely that your lender reported it to at least one of the three credit bureaus. This means a loan in default or collection is likely to be on your credit report, as will the name of the lender.
That being said, a credit report might not offer a complete picture of your debts for two reasons.
One, a lender might report your account to all the major credit bureaus. So, if a lender only reports to Equifax but you get your credit report from TransUnion or Experian, you will be in the dark. It’s advisable to get a credit report from all the three major bureaus and compare.
Third, most unpaid debts will fall off your credit report after seven years, even if you don’t repay them. If you defaulted on a loan more than seven years ago and you request your report today, it’s possible that the account won’t be on your report today.
2. Contact Your Lenders
It’s easier to remember a lender than it is to remember the amount of money they lent you, or when they did it.
Chances are you have a fair memory of all the companies you have borrowed from. Contact them and ask whether you have any unpaid debts with them. Credit companies typically don’t discard customer information, so if you defaulted on a loan a decade ago, the lender can still retrieve the account.
3. How to Find Out All My Debts Solved
Your “I need to know how to find out all my debts” situation isn’t unique. Debts will naturally disappear from your memory, especially if the lenders stop following you up. With this guide, you now know how to track old debt.
Now, let’s see what the best ways to clear your debts are.
4 Strategies to Clear Debt
Debt is no joke. It can make your waking life a living nightmare.
This is most true for people who feel like they have no path out of debt. About 20 percent of millennials with debt don’t think they’ll ever pay it off.
With high balances and interest rates abound, it makes sense why so many people have this idea. However, there are ways for you to get out of debt.
They aren’t going to be easy; but these are some strategies for beating your debt.
Understand Your Total Financial Situation and Plan
You can’t expect to get out of debt without doing some work. The amount of effort required is going to fluctuate based on your income and total debt load.
Since your finances are unique to you, it’s important to create a personal budget.
If you’ve never done this before, here are the important steps:
- Get all your financial information in one place. This includes your bank account statements, investments, any recurring or outstanding bills, your paystubs, or anything else that constitutes an expense or income. Leaving anything out will make your budget null and void, which won’t ultimately help you get out of debt.
- Once you’ve gotten all your financial statements together, it’s time to organize them. Total up your income and expenses for the month. This will give you an idea of how much you’re going to need to cut out of your budget to shrink your debt.
- Differentiate between your essential and non-essential expenses. You need to have housing, insurance, utilities, and certain other things. But you don’t need to spend on a bunch of memberships or going out to drink with friends. Differentiating between these two kinds of costs will let you see where you can start saving money right away.
- Find ways to cut costs. You can start by cancelling any memberships that you aren’t using enough. You probably heard this before but eating out really costs a lot—over 300 percent more than eating at home on average. This goes up even more if you have drinks or desserts. You can also potentially save money on your essential costs. Consider downsizing your living space or finding a better deal on insurance or Internet.
It’s important you come up with a plan to go along with your budgeting efforts. Otherwise, it’s easy to fall back into old habits.
Build savings and debt payment goals into your budget. This will keep you accountable to yourself.
It’s even possible to set up auto-deductions from your paycheck so you aren’t even tempted to spend that money.
Read also: How Becky Paid Off $80K of Debt with This 1 Side Hustle
Consider Balance Transfers or Credit Counseling
Some people will be able to work their way out of debt with a simple budgeting plan. But this isn’t going to be enough for everyone—especially those who have a significant debt load.
Individuals with a myriad of high interest credit card payments might want to consider a balance transfer. Essentially, you take all those separate balances and bundle them into one on a lower interest rate account.
This can be extremely helpful for people who believe they can pay off that debt in a relatively short amount of time.
The drawback to doing a balance transfer is that the introductory low interest rate doesn’t last forever. If you don’t pay it down fast enough, you’re going to end up accruing a lot of interest.
People who find budgeting isn’t enough to reduce their debt and want to explore further options can consider credit counseling. This is often a free service that can give debt reduction advice, as well as refer you to other organizations that can help with your debt.
Work with a Debt Relief Agency
Debt relief agencies are an option for people who are struggling to manage their debt on their own.
It’s important to note, however, that not all debt relief companies are the same. Some are known to be helpful to consumers in most cases, while others are much more predatory.
You should do some research on your own to find a reliable debt relief company. One of the most respected names in the debt relief world, Freedom Financial Network, offers a variety of services to people who need assistance with their serious debt.
These are a couple of the services typically offered by debt relief companies:
- Debt Settlement: This is where you pay a lender an amount that’s less than the true debt in order to settle the loan. Creditors don’t want to end up with nothing. They’re often willing to take a much lower payment if they see you’re unable to pay off the loan in full. Typically, you’ll send payments to the debt relief company instead of the lender, which the agency will then use to negotiate down your balance.
- Debt Consolidation: Consolidation is another way of saying you’re taking a lot of loans and turning them into one. A balance transfer is a type of debt consolidation. This is an effective strategy for people who have several lines of credit and think they can pay them all off if they’re simplified into one. A debt relief company can use something called a debt consolidation loan for qualified enrollees. This is where they pay settlements to your creditors, and then give you a single loan based on those settlements.
Of course, you’re going to have to pay a debt relief agency for their services. But it’s still worthwhile if they’re able to help you eliminate your debts.
And it’s almost always a better path than bankruptcy, which can lead to you losing your assets and being unable to get new lines of credit.
Find New Sources of Income
If you find cutting out spending isn’t doing enough to help you lower your debt, it’s wise to find other ways of making money.
Generating more income can help you make a huge dent in your debt. Today, there are more options than ever for people to make money on the side thanks to the proliferation of the Internet.
Here are a few ideas:
- Sell things that you’re not using. Find things at your house that you don’t need and sell them online. You can also try to find things at garage sales or thrift stores that might be worth reselling.
- Offer your skills through freelancing. If you’re a designer, writer, software engineer, or someone with a skill, you can make some extra money by doing some side work.
- Rent out your home, apartment, or vehicle. You can make a decent amount of money letting people stay at your place for a few days. AirBnB and other peer-to-peer sharing platforms are making this a valuable side job for people all over the world.
Taking on more work probably isn’t the most appealing idea—especially if you’re already going full time or more. However, it can be a way for you to pay down your debts faster, which will be better for you in the long term.
No matter your history with debt, there’s a way for you to move forward and beat it. People with huge debt loads have managed to work through them. With a bit of work and planning, you can do the same.