It is stressful to be in debt, especially when the expenses seem to keep mounting. The situation can get to the point where the bills cannot be paid. Some help is needed to get out of this financial crisis and get back on track. There are several ways to get legitimate debt help.
Step 1: Develop a budget. List income, fixed expenses, and varying expenses. Prioritize unnecessary expenses and eliminate those as required.
Step 2: Contact creditors. Explain to them why you are unable to pay your bills. See if they will agree to a payment plan with a more manageable payment amount.
Step 3: Be aware of your rights with collectors. They are subject to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This limits the times when they can call you and regulates their behavior during the call. Do not let a collector take advantage of you.
Step 4: Manage home and auto loans. These loans are secured to the asset that they represent. Avoid car repossession and home foreclosure at all costs. Contact lenders and see if they will work with you regarding payments. For a mortgage, contact a housing counseling agency if the mortgage lender is not helpful.
- Credit Counseling- if you are not disciplined enough to engage in self-help, contact a credit counseling service to do it for you. Thoroughly research the organization and try to find one that conducts in-person counseling.
- Debt Management Plans- enroll in one of these if recommended by a credit counseling service. In this program, the debtor deposits money with the credit counseling service each month. The service uses the money to pay unsecured debts according to a modified payment schedule agreed upon by creditors and the debtor. Prior to enrolling in one of these plans, conduct research to make sure that the organization is reputable.
- Debt Consolidation- consolidate the debts by taking out a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage. Try to find a loan without any points and be aware that late or unmade payments may result in losing the home.