Communicate With Your Creditors
When facing financial uncertainty, communicating with creditors as soon as possible creates better outcomes. Talking about what is happening opens the way for finding an outcome that is mutually acceptable.
When we face uncertainty, what we are willing and not willing to do influences the outcome. We can take actions that allow all involved to get what they need. On the other hand, we can take actions that create blockages and cause conflict. The way we do what we do depends on what we are willing to do.
During difficult times, we can call on our twelve character traits to get through in a healthy way.
- When we are afraid, we can call on confidence to find the courage to take our financial inventory to guide us in choosing what to do.
- When we are in doubt, we can call on belief to come to know and identify what we need.
- When we are not aware of what to do, we can become aware of what we desire so that we can define and voice what we need.
The fourth character trait we are going to focus on is will. What we are willing to do or not do strongly influences how successful we will be in finding solutions.
Will is the inner capacity we have for forming how we participate in what we do to meet our needs. How and when we participate in interactions with others determines the quality of outcomes we get. The way each person involved is included or excluded determines whether there will be conflict or successful resolution. We can have successful resolution when the needs of all involved are considered.
We have conflict when there are blockages in the way we connect in our interactions with each other. Blockages occur by how and when we include or exclude others when interacting to meet a common need. We create blockages when the will of each involved is not included from the beginning to the end of interactions in a balanced way.
When someone is “self-centered”, the needs of the self are considered while the needs of others involved are excluded when forming what to do. When someone is “other-centered”, the needs of others are considered while the needs of the self are excluded when forming what to do.
We each have the power to use our will to create good outcomes. When facing uncertainty, moving from an “I-centered” or “You-centered” focus to a “We-centered” focus allows us to get better results.
To move to a “We-centered” focus, we first determine what is “my part” in finding the solution to manage the debt.
Making a financial inventory helps us clarify our part in finding the solution. By taking an inventory of income and expenses and the amount of debt we owe, we can communicate what we are willing to repay and when.
What I do impacts others. What others do impacts me. With loss of income due to the health crisis, I cannot pay all of my bills. If creditors don’t get what I owe them, they have a loss of income and can’t pay their bills. Just as the corona virus spreads, the impact of the financial situation spreads.
Sometimes we don’t stop to think about how our actions impact others. When we don’t consider others or when others don’t consider us, we interfere with the capacity to find satisfactory solutions for all involved.
When we are each willing to own and exercise our right to do our part in reasonable proportion to work out a repayment plan, it is easier to create a mutually acceptable solution.
Communicate With Your Creditors
Now that you have your financial information, you can create an action plan for moving forward.
1. Consider reducing your use of credit.
2. Limit the use of credit except for extreme emergencies.
3. Contact each creditor to discuss what each of you is willing to do so you can explore and choose the best option.
Be prepared to explain the following information to each creditor.
1. Why you fell behind in your payments – layoff or reduced work hours due to current health crisis
2. Your current income
3. Perhaps some general information about your other debts
4. Your proposed plan for what you can pay now and how you can catch up when you get more income.
Call your creditors as soon as possible even when it may take longer than expected to reach them.
Commit to being willing to follow through with what you mutually agree upon.
Once you have agreed on a repayment plan, stick with the plan.
There may be times when there is temptation to use credit to buy something to make us feel good because of the stress in the moment. Spending to make us feel good now will compete with committing to our repayment plan. Saying no to the temptation to use credit to feel good now will help us feel better in the long run when we have caught up with our current obligations.
We can find our way through this uncertainty by combining what we are willing to do with what the creditor is willing do in reasonable proportion. If I am not willing to do what the creditor asks, that sets up a blockage. If the creditor is not willing to do what I am asking, that sets up a blockage. When each involved is willing to cooperate by considering each other’s requests, there is greater potential for finding a way through.