A couple of years ago I noticed that more and more people were arriving at my writing help websites looking for info on how to write something they called a “financial hardship letter”. This was something new to me, and I must admit that at first I wasn’t quite sure what they were referring to, because before that time these types of letters were hardly on the radar screen.
But once I looked into it a little further I realized what was going on. It turns out that the increased demand for these types of letters is directly attributable to the recent mortgage insolvency crisis in the USA and some of the spin-off effects on the economy in general as they affect the financial situation of many individuals worldwide.
A financial hardship letter is one that you write to a creditor that explains the financial trouble that you are in and requests that the addressee provide you with some sort of specific relief or remedy, depending on the exact situation involved.
There are many different situations that can warrant a financial hardship letter. The two most common situations these days are: 1.) to request that your mortgage holder let you “short sale” your house, or 2.) request to your bank or credit card company to consolidate or restructure your debt.
Other typical financial hardship letters include: requests to a college or university to reduce their admission fees due to special circumstances, appeals to a hospital or medical care provider to reduce their billings for compassionate reasons, or, a request to an insurance company to cover the costs of an unusual medical procedure or treatment, and others.
By definition, these types of letters are very important; often a last resort in a dire situation. Here are some tips that should help you draft a more effective and convincing financial hardship letter.
7 Tips For Writing Financial Hardship Letters
Regardless of the specific situation, there are a few important guidelines that you should follow if you want to draft a financial hardship letter that will be taken seriously:
1. Keep It Short
Keep your letter short and to the point. Try not to exceed one page. A long, rambling letter will water down the essence of your case and will lose the reader.
2. Make It Personal
Make sure that you personalize your letter as much as possible by including details about you and your family that will get the reader to identify with your situation as a fellow human being.
3. Clearly State Problem
Early in your letter, summarize the specific situation that has prompted you to write the letter. Provide more details in the later paragraphs.
4. Give Enough Information
Your letter should provide enough detailed financial and related information so that the reader can understand your situation enough to be able to consider a decision on your case. Attach clarifying documents as necessary including: cash flow statements, bank statements, income tax statements, invoices, letters, etc.
5. Make Your Request Specific
In the subject-line and the first paragraph of your hardship letter, state exactly what you are requesting. Don’t leave it open or make the recipient have to guess. Reiterate this request in slightly different words at the conclusion of the letter.
6. Stick to the Point
Stick to your point and don’t get into any blame games or side issues. The two main things that your hardship letter needs to do are clearly convey your exact financial situation and ensure that what you are requesting is absolutely clear.
7. Be Humble and Thankful
To reach the point where you have to write a financial hardship letter means that you are in deep financial trouble and this is basically your last resort. Be respectful and thank the addressee in advance for considering your situation.
For more tips and to see two sample hardship letters; one mortgage-related and the other credit card related, click on the following link: