“Sell structured settlement payments”-this phrase, by itself, may not mean much to the average person. But put them together into a statement like: “I plan to sell my structured settlement payments-and they create a controversial, emotionally
loaded topic.

There are many reasons not to sell structured settlement payments

There are many reasons not to sell structured settlement payments. But there are also many reasons when, give the individual’s situation, it makes sense to sell structured settlement annuities. Here are some common objections to that powerful phrase-sell structured settlement payments-and some circumstances when, even given the validity of the objection, it still can be smart to sell structured
settlement payments.

Concern: Person does not want to damage total financial picture by removing a long-term, steady source of income.

Answer: If the annuitant will use the lump sum payment to invest in his or her income-producing future, such as for education or career training expenses or to start a business, it might be a smart decision to tap into the structured settlement. Each of these expenses-education, career training, business startup costs-should lead to a future stream of income that will replace the income lost as a result of the annuitant’s decision to sell structured settlement payments.

Also, if the annuitant uses the cash from selling a structured settlement to build, purchase or improve a home, he or she is actually making an investment in his or her way of life, family stability, and emotional state that will ultimately improve his or her long-term, overall future and ability to earn an income. Think about how much better positioned the person will be to pursue and hold a stable career or job when he or she has the peace of mind of owning a home, for example.

Finally, if selling structured settlement payments for cash allows the injured person to avoid foreclosure, pay down a mortgage, or pay off credit card debt, then the loss of long-term payments will likely be offset by the benefit of financial and emotional stability. Imagine how much more confident and focused the person will be in jobs, interviews and any other situation with the knowledge that he or she is debt-free and in good financial condition.

Concern: Might not get the most value for the settlement or might lose value by selling at today’s rates rather than future rates.

Answer: First, there are many issues to consider when making a decision to sell structured settlement payments-and not all of the issues are financial. One must also consider the emotional aspects as well. There are times when a financial loss is a small price to pay for reducing or eliminating the emotional stress and anxiety one might feel about being in debt. When one considers the original intent of the structured settlement-to provide financial and emotional peace of mind after an injury or crisis situation-sometimes selling some of the structured settlement payments is just a logical extension of its original purpose.

Second, if the annuitant uses the cash lump sum to pay off a debt with an exorbitant interest rate, finance charges, or late fees, such as credit card debt, even a discounted settlement payment will offset the high rates or fees on the debt. And the peace of mind of no longer being in debt or at risk of bankruptcy or foreclosure may allow the annuitant to move forward with smart plans for the future.

Concern: Does the reason qualify as a good reason to sell structured
settlement payments?

Answer: Based on the transactions that have been approved by judges, there are a number of valid reasons for selling structured settlements: paying off or reducing debt (especially caused by a job loss), avoiding bankruptcy or foreclosure, taking care of healthcare and medical needs, paying for education or career training, providing for family, starting a well-planned business, paying for expenses related to a new or existing employment opportunity, or buying or renovating a home.

The list above is not complete of course-people have been approved to sell structured settlement payments to purchase a car to replace one that was constantly in need of expensive repairs, for example-so if the reason is practical and aimed at either reducing an expense or a debt or creating a new source of income or investment, it should be a good reason to sell structured settlement payments in the eyes of the legal system.

Concern: Perhaps the individual should find another source of cash such as a bank loan or home equity line of credit.

Answer: In today’s tight financial market, even individuals with good credit may have a hard time getting a bank loan. And people with average or below average credit scores will find it nearly impossible to take out a loan. Besides, even if a bank would give out a loan, is now really the right time to add the unsettling feelings and stresses of increased debt to one’s life?

As for a home equity line of credit, these days, when the value of one’s home may be less than amount owed on the mortgage, it may not even be possible to get a home equity line of credit. And even if one is able to take out a home equity line of credit, when a person is coming from a place of insecure finances, it is scary and often risky to put one’s home on the line as collateral for this type of loan. Besides, it is not the best idea to load one’s home up with debt-even if the loan is at a lower rate as is often the case with home equity lines of credit.

Finally, if a person has access to cash from a structured settlement annuity to tie them over until a future source of income or job kicks in, there is a priceless emotional feeling of being free from debt-it is like being given a clean slate or second chance. And that sense of optimism and freedom provides the best frame of mind for the best chance of success when starting the first day of the rest of one’s life-which of course is exactly the point of the structured settlements in the first place: to help the annuitant meet his or her needs while recovering from an injury or crisis.