While you may have been taking on unnecessary debts with the best intentions to repay them, it doesn’t always work out. If you are finding yourself in unmanageable debt, you should seek help to get them under control before bankruptcy becomes your only choice. When should you seek help with your debts? If you are missing payments or barely making minimums each month, you should seek help from a credit counselor or take on a plan of action to solve your credit problems.
There are a few options when it comes to taking control of your debts. You can do so by you setting up a reasonable, workable budget and allocating funds to pay off your bills to the best of your abilities. Remember, making only minimum payments won’t reduce your balance by much, since interest is added onto your balance every month. However, a minimum payment ensures that your accounts are in good standing and will keep creditors from hassling you.
There are many self-help guides at your local bookstore or website for those who would like to manage their debts on their own. You can also try contacting your creditors to explain your situation. You might be surprised by the results of simply giving them a phone call.
However, most individuals seek the help of a credit professional. These days, there are many credit counseling agencies to choose from. An agent will help you create a working budget and will figure out a plan to get your debts under control. They will usually contact your creditors to renegotiate payment terms that are more manageable for your budget.
Help with Your Creditors
Your credit counselor may also enlist you in a debt management program. In this program, they will add up your monthly payments and figure out the exact amount that you owe each month. You will make just one payment to the credit counseling agency and they will pay your creditors on your behalf. This is especially helpful for those who have trouble keeping up with the number of creditors they have.
You can find a legitimate credit counseling agency by doing your research online. Find agencies that have positive ratings by asking others for recommendations. Ask questions about fees and accreditation, and how long they have been in business. Usually, agencies that have been around for a while will most likely be reputable. Usually, not-for-profit credit counseling agencies are your best bet.
Pay off Your Balances
Another option is to get a consolidation loan to pay off your balances in full. Your only obligation from that point on is to send in your monthly payment to pay the consolidation loan. Some people take on a consolidation loan in the form of home equity lines of credit or personal loans. If your consolidation loan interest rate is lower than the rates that you are currently paying, you will save money in the long run.
Whichever alternative you choose, remember that it is okay to ask for help. Bankruptcy can lead to many problems and will leave a bad mark on your credit report for up to a decade. The best thing to do is know when to seek help before it is too late. The federal government has some helpful information for those with credit or debt problems, so check out some of their publications for more resources.