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FAST TRACK DEBT RELIEF ADVICE BLOG
NOV 21, 2017, TUESDAY
Credit-Counseling--Fast-Track Signs You Have Too Much Debt

The first sign you have too much debt is that you're not picking up the phone. You know that a credit card company or even a collection agency is on the other end and you don't know what to tell them. It stresses you out to take that call, so you don't. You avoid picking up – but you don’t avoid the worry and anxiety that the ringing of the triggers. You are not alone, and you are not out of options. Credit counseling and debt relief that can help you.

 

Not Picking Up the Phone

 

The Problem: Not picking up the phone only pushes the stress to tomorrow, and your situation becomes worse with each passing day. You're not solving anything; you're just delaying it.

 

The Solution: This one's easy (really!). Pick up the phone. Even if it's just to tell the credit card company that you won't be able to afford this month's payment. They won't be angry. They'll let you know what will happen anyway – which is the same thing that would happen if you hadn't picked up the phone. And sometimes they can even find a hardship program for you, or alternate options. They generally don’t volunteer this information; you have to ask. If you can pay, but it's going to be late, they can forgive a late fee.

 

Remember, for credit card companies, something is better than nothing. They will work with you because it’s in their best interest. It is in yours too.

 

High Balance on Credit Cards

 

The Problem: This is tough. When your balance grows too high across multiple credit cards, the monthly payments might outpace your income. That means paying them begins to drain any savings you have. The interest charges can also skyrocket, especially if you've missed a few payments. For every $200 you pay on a card, you might get another $100 in interest charges. That means you're paying $200 every month to reduce your balance by only $100.

 

The Solutions: The answer to this one depends on your situation. Many people ignore the problem, letting it drain away their savings until they simply can't pay anymore. Worse yet, many people keep charging on the cards. The first step is better financial discipline. This means changing some habits. If you commit, it's not as difficult as it sounds. Working with a credit counselor is key because it will teach you some options and approaches you didn't even realize you had.

 

The second step has to do with debt relief. If you work with a debt relief company, you may be able to settle with a credit card company. Do this before you drain your savings out. Debt settlement involves paying a lump sum to a credit card company that totals a fraction of what you owe. To make it work, you need to have the money to pay that lump sum. We can help you make a plan for that.

 

Monthly Payments are Too High

 

The Problem: Just like in the last example, your monthly payments exceed your ability to pay them. Maybe you've already depleted your savings, or maybe you've still got something left in them. Maybe there's an emergency fund that you don't want to touch (which is smart). You definitely don't have enough to settle. What do you do?

 

The Solutions: Again, working with a credit counselor to adjust your spending and saving is a key step. Whether you know a lot or you only know a little about managing your finances, a credit counselor does this for a living. They know this area inside and out. They're there for you to lean on for teaching and for an objective view that is hard for you to maintain when you're stressed and anxious about finances.

 

There's a second step here, too. Even if you don't have the money ready for a realistic debt settlement, you might have the combined income and savings to qualify for debt consolidation. This is a form of debt relief that reorganizes your payments so that they're more manageable. You'll have a different amount to pay each month that's engineered to your ability to successfully make those payments.

 

You're Racking Up Late Fees

 

The Problem: Yes, you may not be in collections yet, but you are be racking up hundreds and hundreds of dollars in late fees. This just delays the inevitable. When you do finally hear from collections, the end result may be thousands more than you initially owed – simply because you didn't know what to do as the late fees added up.

 

The Solutions: The ideal course at this stage is to inquire about hardship programs. Most major credit card companies run such programs. This will close down the card and require you to repay the balance at a certain rate. You won't still be able to charge on the card – but if you can't pay the monthly payments, it’s a good idea to stop using it anyway.

 

Debt relief should be another option you look at. Once a certain amount of late fees have accrued and a credit card company hasn't seen a monthly payment (which will balloon every month to include the unpaid monthly payments), then the card gets shut down anyway. Your account will be sent to an in-house collections department, and if they still haven't seen any payments, it will be sent to an external collections company.

 

Tackling matters before they go through these steps – either through hardship programs or debt relief – is the best move.

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