Who says you can’t settle debts on your own? In 2010, clients of my ZipDebt program reported settlements totaling more than $16.2 million of debt, primarily credit card debt balances. In my blog post of July 2009, “Debt Settlement Done Right,” I outlined my success tracking statistics and included a progress report on settlement activity through mid-year. At the time, we reported 737 settled accounts representing more than $10 million of debt. By year end, the figures had increased to more than $16 million settled and more than $10 million in SAVINGS. Here are the updated statistics:

ZipDebt Settlement Results for 2010

Number of settlements reported___ 1,193
Debt balances settled___ $16,251,722
Amount paid for settlements___ $ 5,376,767
Client savings___ $10,874,955
Average account balance___ $13,623
Average settlement result___ 33.1%

I will repeat a point I made in the July post. When you research debt settlement, you’ll come across numerous press releases where company executives boast of their firms having settled $100 million of debt over a period of several years. Remember, we’re talking about larger companies with 25-50 employees (much larger in some cases). Well, so what? During 2010, with just one other person helping me with coaching, our clients cracked $10 million in savings. Why do our clients do so well? Clients can settle more debt faster when they are not held back by huge fees.

As became clear during the recent FTC investigation of the debt settlement industry, the industry average for settlements is right around 50%. Add the usual 15% in fees (whether paid in advance or as the accounts are settled), and the average client is looking at around 65% total repayment.

Let’s do some math here. Say you owe $50,000 in debt. You hire a debt settlement company. Assuming they settle everything with no problems (which is a very large assumption!), you’re looking at a payout at 50%, or $25,000, plus fees of $7,500, for a total of $32,500 out-of-pocket. (To keep the math simple, I’m ignoring any balance inflation during the process.) Let’s round up from 33.1% and assume you do 35% using the ZipDebt Program. Your payout would then be $17,500, plus $777 for the program fee, or $18,277 total. That’s a difference of more than $14,000! The average ZipDebt client does 28% better!

Simply put: For most clients, a margin of 28% on large debt balances would spell the difference between SUCCESS and FAILURE at the debt settlement strategy. This is precisely why ZipDebt has the best track record in the industry.

If you owe $100,000 or more, the difference becomes even more pronounced — $15,000 in fees, $65,000 total payout versus $777 in fees and $35,000 in settlements, for a difference of more than $29,000. That’s a lot of dollars back in your pocket.

The more you owe, the more you are penalized by traditional debt settlement company fee structures. Why should you pay more because you owe more? It takes no more work to settle an account with $20,000 balance than it does a $10,000 account, yet the fee will be DOUBLE. Do the work yourself (with our guidance), and skip the huge fees. You’ll be out of debt much FASTER as a result.

High-balance debtors owing $100,000 or more should read my new FREE REPORT DOWNLOAD (PDF file): “$100,000 in Credit Card Debt: Financial Survival Tactics for High-Balance Debtors & Small Business Owners.” (Heck, even if you owe a lot less, read it anyway – most of the information will still apply to you.)

IMPORTANT! Don’t be fooled by all the new marketing for “FTC compliant” debt settlement companies. It used to be that they charged a lot of money up front to get you quickly sued by one or more of your creditors. (All the major banks HATE debt settlement companies, and that has NOT changed in 2011!) Now, they will get you sued without charging you in advance for it. It is much SAFER to handle the project on your own with some expert coaching.

If you think debt settlement might be right for your situation but would like more information after reading our free materials, please feel free to request a 20-minute phone consultation.

Make 2011 the year you tackle your debt problem. A lot of others have paved the way in front of you, and the trail is clearly marked. Now it’s YOUR turn!