Where to Turn for Debt Help and Why
Credit cards and student loans seem to be the main money stressors for consumers these days. Arguments among couples concerning money seem frequently directed at spending more than the income coming from employment or self-employment. Much of that spending is debt reduction related for a high percentage of Americans. Maybe more than half according to some reports.
If current spending and saving habits can’t reduce and eliminate debt where can consumers go for help and why should they seek help?
- Family and friends are frequently sources of assistance seeking, but with mixed results. Helping eliminate long-term, high-cost debt, is not an emergency and that is what family and friends are most likely to respond to, emergencies.
- Employee Assistance Programs many times offer counseling and other assistance, but not monetary help to program beneficiaries. Be sure to check your work benefits.
- Non-profit credit counseling agency. Most of these are certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). Look for this on their website. This is their sole reason for being and have the highest success rate in helping consumers get out of debt by restructuring assistance and habit changing. Look to get loan interest down to 8 or 9 percent with affordable monthly payments.
- Debt Consolidation Company. These companies are in business to make a profit by offering a lower monthly payment, but often at a long-term cost of more interest and fees. Be careful here. Many times, it is just as effective to try to consolidate yourself if you have time and persistence and thereby avoid large fees in the process. You can check out these companies with the Better Business Bureau too.
- Bankruptcy Attorney. Chapter 7, liquidation, or Chapter 13, reorganization, are two dramatic alternatives along with a stigma that you live with for a long time. Some federal and private student loans can be discharged, but that usually falls under the “undue hardship” requirements. That’s a pretty high standard and qualified legal representation is required and expensive.
Why should you seek assistance in helping get yourself out of oppressive debt and planning for the future?
- It’s very hard to do it yourself. People need support to change their habits and stay on track. Also, you need encouragement and acknowledgment of your achieving debt reduction and elimination. An accountability person really helps.
- Rules and strategies can change. Laws, court cases, federal and state rules are changing all the time. One state may let you out of some student loans via bankruptcy in as little as three years and another might make you wait 15 years.
- You can also help others. When you learn how to get out of debt and track your progress you become educated to help others. The perfect example is the author of the blog: The Simple Dollar. It’s a “pay it forward” opportunity.
Good luck. We know you can do it.