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When the Debt Won't Stop

Debbie Wilson
LoanBiz Columnist

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If you're like the typical American family, you've probably incurred your fair share of credit card debt. And whether it was a lost job, medical costs, or an over-the-top shopping spree, spending beyond your monthly income can prove to be like digging a hole without end. Many families can tighten their belts and recover, but according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), at least 2 million Americans a year turn to a credit counselor for financial help. Are you a candidate?

Debt Counselor Help

If you haven't been successful in getting out of debt on your own, you could be a candidate for debt counseling. But before you jump for credit card help, consider the following questions:

  • Can you only afford to make the minimum payment on your credit card bills?
  • Do your monthly credit card bills exceed 15% of your take-home pay?
  • Do you forgo paying some creditors to pay others?
  • Do you put routine necessities like groceries on a credit card?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, a debt counselor may be the solution you're looking for.

Finding the Right Debt Counselor

A debt counselor is a financial professional who will evaluate your debt situation and help create a strategy to get you out of debt as quickly as possible. He or she can negotiate lower interest rates and help get credit card late fees, over-the-limit charges, and other miscellaneous fees reduced or eliminated. Before you make a selection, have a look at the U.S. Department of Justice's list of agencies that have been approved to counsel debt clients. You may have to pay a set-up fee for a debt management program, but you'll be happy to have someone who is bonded and meets the government's training and ethical standards.

Learning to live debt-free may take less time than you think. Sometimes a little professional help is all it takes to get back on track.

Sources:
DebtAdvice.org
National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)


About the Author
Debbie Wilson owns and operates a lakeside resort. Her previous experience includes profitability consulting for a national healthcare company. Debbie holds a B.A. in Business Management with a minor in Physical Education.

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