Appendix: Tips for Selling Your Structured Settlement
Below we have compiled 50 tips to help you sell your settlement and take positive steps into your future.
Take the time to understand the value of your structured settlement, considering the potential repercussions of selling your settlement payments, and comparing those trade-offs to what you will gain if you sell. Do not let anyone pressure you. Take your time and make the best decision for you and your family.
Selling your structured settlement should be a last resort, a decision that you do not take lightly. Explore other options before you sell your structured settlement.
While your Strategic Capital representative may be able to give you some basic advice, you should really consult a professional accountant or tax preparer before making any final decisions.
Talk to at least two structured settlement purchasers, or at least verify the answers that you are given with online research. You can be more certain that information is accurate if you research it and find the same answer from at least two credible sources.
Do not sell your structured settlement if you can help it. If you must sell, sell only as many payments as you absolutely have to.
Nothing in this world comes for free – selling your structured settlement payments will cost you money. Be sure that you understand those costs and that they are worth it.
Do some calculations and ensure that you will still be able to meet your life expenses if you sell your settlement payments. Ensure that you will still have enough money to pay rent, cover transportation expenses, and so forth.
It varies by situation and location, but a structured settlement can survive bankruptcy. While bankruptcy is a distasteful option for most people, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Talk to a financial advisor or bankruptcy lawyer if you are considering this for yourself.
Selling your structured settlement can be a viable option for getting the money you need. Just do your research so that you can make an informed decision.
Sometimes selling your settlement is the best thing you have ever done, offering you amazing financial freedom and relief from financial stress. Remember, finances are important but your emotional health is important at all. Selling your settlement could provide much needed stress relief.
We all make bad decisions from time to time. If you have made some bad financial decisions that you now regret, there is nothing to do but forgive yourself, learn from the experience, and move on. Famed financial adviser Suze Orman says that the biggest obstacles to financial security are fear, shame and anger. You need to forgive yourself for any mistakes in the past and move on, in a better direction. But it is possible that selling your structured settlement will help you recover from a previous bad decision, as long as you are careful and think it through.
Suze is probably right to caution against selling settlement payments in most situations, but remember that every situation is unique. Suze acknowledges, frequently on her TV show, that you often have to make a decision that fits your personal situation and that relieves your emotional stress.
Dave raises some good points about the benefits of structured settlements and that there is nothing wrong with selling your settlement if the price is right. But consider your personal needs along with his general financial advice before you make a decision.
Choose a factoring company that will help you consider YOUR personal situation, not just their bottom line.
Day trading, that is buying stocks with the idea of making a fast profit in a day or few days, is a hobby, not a career, and is one best left to the wealthy. That is not to say that you should never invest, certainly stock investing is a great way to make money. But be careful about taking money out of a structured settlement to put it into something less secure.
There are many ways to access the money that you need. If you have good credit consider a loan from a bank or from family members. Remember that while you cannot use a structured settlement as a form of collateral, you can probably put it in the “other income” section of a loan application.
The Strategic Capital website provides you with tons of information about selling structured settlements. There are many websites and articles dedicated to the topic as well. But laws change, guidelines change, and times change. In addition, laws can vary from state to state. So always double check the information that you receive, especially as relates to the legality of selling your settlement. Call Strategic Capital to verify that what you read applies to you, your state, your situation, and the present time.
Like anything else in life it pays to be informed. Get quotes from two or three companies before you make a decision. When you get a quote do tell companies that you are getting multiple quotes, but do not tell them how much you have been quoted – you will get a better offer if you keep your other quotes anonymous. But remember to consider the amount of money as well as the service that you will receive when making your final decision.
When you call a company you are taking them for a test drive – you want to see if it feels good to work with them. Avoid working with a company that tries to pressure you to make a rushed decision. A caring company will give you the information that you need and then give you the space that you need to mull it over and make the best decision for you and your family. If someone tries to pressure you too much you may want to move on to another company.
It is important that you understand the structured settlement process and anything specific to the company that you are working with. If you don’t understand something, or are not sure what is required of you, be sure to ask. As they say in grade school, the only stupid question is the one that goes unasked.
If you are uncertain about whether selling your settlement is the right choice you want to work with a company that helps you make a well thought out decision. A good company will tell you the benefits and negatives and encourage you to think things through. If the company you are talking to simply pushes you to sell and ignores your concerns hang up and call someone else.
The settlement purchasing industry is not regulated like so many other industries are. But one way to find a reputable company to work with is to look for endorsement from professional organizations, such as the CAOC.
Money matters, obviously. You need money to live and thus you want to get the most money that you can for your settlement payments. However, how you are treated is also important. As famed financial advisor Suze Orman says, “People first, then money, then things.” So be sure to look for a company that makes you feel as though they are placing your needs before money.
Certainly size can tell you about experience, but it doesn’t tell the entire story. When shopping for the right company to sell your payments look for one that is big enough to meet your needs but also one that can offer you personalized attention and service.
Gathering information about a company is always good before you start a relationship with them. But today, BBB ratings are not a reliable way of choosing a company. A search of a company’s name with the word “complaints” after it can reveal if people are happy or upset and can be much more revealing than any BBB rating.
One of the jobs of the judge who approves your structured settlement sale is to ensure that you are not being charged an extreme amount of money. However, there is no set guideline for these judges to go by. Thus, what they feel is extreme and what is extreme for your situation could vary drastically. So don’t count on the judge, or anyone else, to save you from making a bad decision. Do the research on your own and ensure that selling at the rate you were given is the best decision for you.
Advertising has been around for generations, as have salesmen. People have been selling snake oil and other meaningless concoctions for years. Just watch a little late night TV and you will see from the infomercials that people will say anything to get your money. So, again, this means it is up to you to wade through the rhetoric and find the truth before you commit to selling your settlement.
Salesmen will say anything to get your money. They will also appeal to your emotions. One popular commercial for a purchasing company tells you that, “It’s your money” and encourages you to use it when you want. But this is not about ownership or control, it is about deciding which way your money serves you best – in a lump now or in payments later. So make the decision that is right for you and don’t be pushed into a decision by people who appeal to you with slogans and emotions.
As you consider your options for getting the money that you need you may decide that a loan works for you. Just understand that a loan is different than selling your payments, and a structured settlement cannot be used as collateral on a legal loan. Usually, a loan will require you to meet certain credit guidelines and then to make regular monthly payments.
Some companies will make you a low offer, expecting you to come back with a counter offer and leaving some room for them to seemingly give in to you. At Strategic Capital we will give you our best, most reasonable offer up front. No games. Don’t be afraid to try and negotiate a better deal with some companies. But also do not be upset if Strategic Capital tells you that our first offer is our best offer – it usually is, and that says something about the honesty of our company. Compare our quotes to those of other companies to see how we stack up.
Make notes of every company that you call, what their quote was, and what information they told you that you would need to provide. After you choose a company to sell to, keep notes every time that you call them. Note down who you talked to, what was said, and list anything that you are required to do as follow-up. That way you will not risk slowing down your sale because you forgot to do something and if anything ever goes awry you will be able to say exactly who you talked to, when and what was said.
The best way to get your money fast is to do what you need to do quickly. Don’t procrastinate. Provide paperwork that is requested quickly, sign and return documents fast, and show up to court on time and you will speed up the sale and get your money faster.
Know, up front, whether or not you will have to appear in court. Some states require that paperwork be filed but do not require the seller to actually appear in court; other states do require that you appear. Do your research and ask the representative of the company that is buying your settlement so that you know, up front, what to expect.
While many people feel intimated at the idea of having to appear in court or talk to a judge, just remember that the judge is actually there to help you. His or her goal is to protect your interests and help ensure that you are not being taken advantage of. If you recognize this positive role you may feel less intimidated and bothered by the court appearance.
While the judge may ask you a number of questions the court hearing is not really the time for you to be asking questions. If you have any questions about procedures or your settlement sale ask your Strategic Capital representative before the court hearing so that you can go into the hearing with a good understanding of what is going on and without any questions.
Dressing appropriately for court is a courtesy in that it shows that you respect the judge and the judicial process of the United States. Dressing appropriately also demonstrates to the judge that you are thoughtful and serious, it gives you credibility. This will make the judge less likely to doubt the validity of your request (he or she will be more likely to think that the reason you want a lump sum is a good one) and be more likely to believe that you understand the repercussions of your sale and are making an educated decision.
Most of the time if you have a reputable, experienced factoring company on your side they will have a pretty good idea about whether your sale is viable before you get too far into the process. In other words, they will anticipate that the court will approve your sale. However, sometimes the judge may surprise everyone and deny for some reason. If the judge denies your case but you feel that you do have a valid need and should be approved, do not get visibly upset. Keep your calm and talk to your factoring company, or call another company, to see if you can reapply and if they feel that changes should be made to your paperwork before reapplying. There have been times where a person’s sale was denied initially, but another future judge approved the sale.
Often our stomach or heart know more about what is right than our brains do. If you feel “good” about selling your settlement, and you feel “good” about the company that you have chosen, then go with it and hopefully things will turn out well. However, if you feel uncomfortable at any point, worried that selling is not the right decision, or bothered by the behavior of the company that you are selling to, then stop the process. You can always stop, keep your payments, and think about selling again in the future when it feels like the right thing to do.
It is always a good idea to be very familiar with documents before you sign them, and to understand the contracts to which you are bound. So, before you get too far into your structured settlement sale take the time to read over your initial settlement paperwork. Some of it may be in overly legal language that is difficult to read, but at least skim it over and ensure that you understand the basics of what the settlement papers say. And if you have questions about language, such as anti-assignment clauses, ask Strategic Capital about it. And of course, before you sign any sales paper be sure to read them carefully.
Since this is such an important point it bears repeating: A structured settlement is an excellent investment for the future, and for most people the payments are a better choice than a lump sum of cash. Do not sell your payments lightly and sell only as many as you really have to in order to meet your immediate financial needs.
Selling a structured settlement can take anywhere from 18 to 90 days, even more if there are court delays. Sometimes, if you have a very important, immediate need for money, Strategic Capital will give you a portion of your cash up front. It never hurts to ask.
Selling settlements that belong to those who cannot make decisions for themselves, such as children, is the most difficult thing to get court approval on. Before you try to sell a child’s settlement ensure that you have a really valid reason for doing so, one that is clearly in the best interests of the child.
Life flies right by and years seem to pass as quickly as stops on a subway. Because we move at such a fast pace we sometimes forget to do small things, like update financial beneficiaries when life changes. Now that you are considering selling your payments to get your finances in order this is a great time to look at other areas of your financial life. Take the time now to look at all your financial policies (life insurance, checking account, retirement account, etc.) and update your beneficiaries to ensure that the right person will inherit your money if something happens to you.
The internet is a wonderful tool, just as our Strategic Capital website is a great resource, full of information and facts to help you make life decisions, small and large. But sometimes you really should consult a professional. When it comes to tax advice and major financial decisions, such as selling a structured settlement, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a tax professional or financial advisor, one who is paid by the hour to give you advice and has no stake in the decisions that you make and thus is giving you the advice that you need.
Laws vary from city to city, state to state and country to country. But remember, sometimes you may be bound by not only the law where you live but also the law in the place where the insurance company who holds your annuity is stationed.
The biggest financial blunder that people make is overspending. One way that people overspend is by getting their paycheck and going out to have fun before paying the bills. When you create a budget you give yourself a guideline for spending. You can then see, at a glance, how much money you need from your paycheck (or settlement sale) to pay bills, how much you can use for entertainment, how much you can save and more.
We are all human, and as humans we are prone to temptation. It is natural that when you come into a lump sum of cash you will feel the desire to buy yourself a “treat” or a little indulgence. But use caution and common sense. Pay off the things that you really need to before you spend any money on anything frivolous. Also, here is a tip to avoid overspending… never spend on a whim. If you are thinking about buying something as a treat pick out what you want, then think about it for a few days before you actually make the purchase. By then you may decide that you can live without it after all.
There are a few things in life so important that you should really educate yourself before embarking on them… having children, getting a pet, buying a house and selling a structured settlement are among them. You can never learn too much. Keep on reading, or call Strategic Capital, to ensure that you know all that you need to know in order to make the best decision for you and your family.
It is a cliché to say that money can’t buy happiness, but it really is true. Sure, money can help prevent unhappiness, but true happiness comes from enjoying life. Take the time to set priorities – remember what Suze Orman said, “People first.” Enjoy your time with family and friends. Work not to buy things but to buy time with those you love, doing the things that you love. Plan for the future, but live for today. Of course, one way that you can plan for your future is to manage your money, and your structured settlement payments, well. Call Strategic Capital today to get the help that you need.
Learning is not like painting a wall, you do not do it one time and then you are all done. Learning should be a life-long endeavor – that is part of the beauty of the internet, it puts so many resources at the palm of your hand. When you know where to find information and how to research things you have the key to knowledge. Track your resources, bookmark good sites, dog-ear your book pages, and you will always know how to find the information that you need.