In the past, Partners for Prosperity, Inc. lacked a comprehensive resource to help people in paying off or settling their debts. However, through Partners 4 Fiscal Fitness, LLC we are now proud to offer a new program called Fiscal Fitness™ (aka “The Fiscal Fitness Journey”™) to help people conquer debt quickly while establishing healthy financial habits. Much more than a “quick fix”, Fiscal Fitness™ gives clients a road map to build lasting prosperity!
Sometimes good people land in bad financial situations due to poor financial habits, or circumstances such as job loss, divorce, illness, death in the family, and so forth. They find themselves with seemingly unmanageable debt, sometimes accumulated over years, at other times, practically overnight, the result of a personal crisis or business loss:
A businessman who couldn’t get the funding he needed to complete an urgent business project when his business partner was hospitalized took out $200k in credit card draws on his excellent credit – right before his business partner died, the economy crashed, and sales went south.
Another man lost his accounting job and used credit cards to fill the gaps, assuming he would be employed again professionally within a matter of months. Five years later, he had only been able to obtain part-time and seasonal work. His credit cards were maxed out and delinquent, his retirement drained dry, and his gainfully employed wife had left for greener pastures.
A part-time real estate investor left her full-time managerial career to start a small business, confident that her $500k in real estate equity could be tapped in case of cash flow problems. But within 24 months, her properties had lost all equity in the market crash, her tenants couldn’t pay rent because of their own financial crises, and she lost her homes (including her own). And due to a re-occurrence of cancer, she also lost her health for a time (just after she lost her insurance), and was barely able to work. Meanwhile, creditors called daily to try to recoup some of the tens of thousands she had borrowed in the hopes that “things are going to turnaround any day now.”
Though the reasons and stories are many, these are not isolated cases. Debt has become an American epidemic. As of May 2011, US consumer debt totaled a whopping $2.43 trillion, according to creditcards.com. 177 million card credit card holders (over 70% of the population) report an average household credit card debt (per household with credit card debt) or $15,799. Bankruptcy filings are up a whopping 250% in the four short years from 2006 to 2010, with personal bankruptcies alone totaling over 1.5 million.
What options do people have when they find themselves deep in debt they cannot easily negotiate or pay off? Most options have large downsides:
While bankruptcy legally reduces or even erases debt, it also sullies credit ratings for many years to come, affecting people’s ability to buy a home, rent an apartment, purchase insurance, cars, or cell phones without high rates and fees, and – in some cases – even get a job.
Those with higher incomes (or homes in foreclosure they wish to keep) will be forced to do chapter 13 bankruptcy, which takes 3-5 years, requires partial or full payment of debts, and forces the borrower to live on a strict budget. Only about 35% of debtors complete their bankruptcies. The remainder default, and stand to lose homes and other assets to creditors.
Credit counseling programs offer some consumer education, but also negatively affect credit ratings, typically without the benefit of lowering balances. Interest rates and payments may only decline slightly, if at all, and most clients do not complete their programs. The fact that the agencies are generally paid by the creditors creates a conflict of interest when it comes time to negotiate for the borrower.
Debt consolidation may lower interest rates or payments when a borrower consolidates (or pays off) several smaller debts into one large loan. However, it does nothing to lower the balances owed. (Actually, they will owe more because hefty loan fees are usually added.) And if the borrower uses their home as collateral, they run the risk of losing it should they fall behind on payments.
Debt settlement companies earned a bad name for sometimes taking a borrower’s cash, whether or not they could help them. Some companies acted fraudulently, collecting money then disappearing, other times, borrowers were inappropriate candidates for the program and did not have sufficient income for paying off negotiated debts. (As in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must have income over and above their basic necessities with which they can settle their debts).
However, the best debt settlement companies had a nearly 80% success rate, with borrowers often paying significantly less, getting out of debt faster, and recovering their credit ratings more quickly than with most other methods.
Fiscal Fitness™ took the best of what each strategy offers, and created a new program with the best interest of the consumer in mind. While it is not for everyone, Fiscal Fitness™ can help clients:
- Get out of debt faster by reducing what they owe on consumer debt and even past-due utilities.
- Find workable solutions with their creditors.
- Get training and support to follow a budget and pay off debts.
- Establish healthy financial habits to create lasting wealth.
- Get quality one-on-one advice from a financial professional.
- Protect their income and assets with appropriate insurance.
- And, most importantly, get a fresh financial start… without a bankruptcy!
How it works: To help each client succeed on the Fiscal Fitness Journey™, they are given a support team who will walk them through the process of becoming permanently debt-free. First, a Counselor determines their suitability for the program. If they are a good fit, they will start work with a Financial Trainer who will help them reduce their debts, budget, save, and pay their creditors OFF. Meanwhile, a Creditor Workout Specialist advocates for them with their creditors. Fiscal Fitness™ clients also work with a Financial Coach, (one of our advisors) who can give appropriate financial advice, as well as help them with insurance and other financial products.
Founded in 2010, Partners 4 Fiscal Fitness, LLC is a licensed and incorporated subsidiary of Partners for Prosperity, Inc., created by Kim Butler of Partners for Prosperity, Inc. and Greg O’Connell, a veteran of what used to be known as the debt settlement industry. A happy accident, Greg met Kim while he was looking for a way to provide quality financial advice to individuals paying off debts, and Kim was looking for opportunities to expand Prosperity Economics™ to a broader audience.
Are you or someone you know fighting a losing battle with debt?
Perhaps Fiscal Fitness™ can help! If your debts are $10,000 or more (there is no upper limit), and you would like to avoid bankruptcy, this new program could be your solution. Please refer to our website at FiscalFitnessJourney.com, or call 877-865-7111. We also offer an affiliate program for Fiscal Fitness™ if you are interested in earning money for client referrals. See Partners4Prosperity.com/affiliates for details.