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Where to Turn For Debt Help
When you are in debt, regardless of how much you owe, there are often times where there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. However, when you stop to assess your options, you will find there are tools out there to help you overcome your financial trouble.
Free Credit Reports
Recently, the United States government implemented a program that offers citizens free access to their credit reports from the three main credit bureaus. This is a valuable asset for consumers, as it not only helps detect credit fraud and errors, but it also helps track their spending and credit history, showing detailed information about debt status. Experts often say that when one is in debt, regardless of how long it has gone on, the first step to overcoming it is by knowing exactly how much he or she truly owes. Thus by utilizing your credit report, you are essentially getting a detailed and comprehensive statement of your debt status.
Is Consolidation For Me?
If you find yourself in debt to more than one lender, you might want to consider consolidating. Different banks, loan providers, and credit companies all charge varying interest rates on balances owed. If you are making multiple payments, chances are you could be paying more interest than necessary. In a very general sense, consolidation is a collapsing of several smaller balances into one large sum. Rather than paying multiple interest rates, the debtor then is assessed a new interest rate based upon the total amount. Consolidating is especially useful when one owes large amounts of money, for example, school loans, because with large sums, even fractions of a percentage can make a difference in hundreds, even thousands, of dollars.
Self Help Vs. The Professionals
It seems with technology today, we are bombarded with messages proclaiming to help one recover from debt. There are books, computer programs, T.V. commercials all urging one to turn to a professional for advice and a way out of debt. Many of these vow to eliminate debt completely, which can be alluring, but also false. The information in your credit score cannot be corrected as simply as these offers suggest, but rather it takes the proper time, planning, and tools to do the job correctly.
After you acknowledge how much you owe, it’s important to develop a working budget and payment plans for your bills. Be realistic about what exactly it will take to pay off your balance. Most creditors will gladly work with you to come up with a plan that suits both your needs and theirs, providing you are honest with them, and truly willing to work to get out of debt. Sometimes balances are large and can be too much for you to handle alone. In this case, it is helpful to turn to a credit counseling agency to help put you on the right track. Financial institutions, local government offices, and even family and friends can be valuable tools in helping to find the right counseling for your needs.