Debt. Making the first move.
Everyone, even the wealthy, can sometimes have difficulty in meeting financial commitments on time. One action I have found to work many times is to make the first move. In other words, if you see that you cannot make payment on time because of sudden or unusual circumstances, call your creditor and explain your situation. Tell him your payment will be late, but try not to offer a specific date. This method can give you as much as six months relief. Your creditor feels you are sincere since you did call and admit your inability to pay on time, and he will usually be more hesitant about insisting on immediate payment.
Answer collection letters.
Now here's a surprise! Send your creditor a short apologetic reply. Do not, again, be specific about the time you will be able to pay. Your letter might go as follows:
Dear xxx, I appreciate your recent reminder concerning my account. I am sorry that I cannot make payment on my account at this time. Unexpected hardships make payment at present impossible. I will arrange to get a payment to you as soon as my situation permits. Thank you so very much for your understanding, yours sincerely, etc.
Use an appearance of good standing.
All of us are aware that the wealthier we are, the better we are treated by our creditors. Lower income debtors are harassed, while debtors of better income may be handled with kid gloves. You can use this knowledge to your advantage no matter what your income. You can, for example, respond to collection letters on expensive stationery which can give your creditors the impression that you are a person of some means. And in your reply never say you are broke. Say something to the effect you are in a cash bind position at present or that you have suffered a temporary difficulty in a large investment.
Send an anguished letter.
Sending an anguished letter can be a good tactic if the pressure is really on. This type of letter gives the impression of grave financial hardship due to some personal catastrophe. A letter of this type should give you six months or more relief. Here is an example:
Dear xxx, In recent months, my family and I have suffered innumerable financial and emotional setbacks. A fire recently damaged over one third of our home. My wife, those income provided almost one half of our livelihood, recently had serious sergery, and will be under medical supervision for some time yet. I have recently been cut back to three workdays per week on my job. Despite these and other setbacks, we are attempting to resume payments as our circumstances permit. We thank you for your understanding in this matter, yours sincerely, etc.
Control accessibilty to yourself.
You could, under some circumstances, make yourself inaccessible to your creditors. This serves to keep them off balance, and guessing about your next move. In this way, they will not be able to tell exavctly what assets you may possess. Following are a few ideas that may serve to make you inaccessible: change your telephone to ex directory and/or have the number changed; omit your address wherever possible; close your bank account; have office calls screened; avoid appointments with creditors or agents; omit your return address from all payments and corresponence with creditors and their agents.