If your credit cards are maxed out and you’re worried about meeting the minimum monthly payments, don’t ignore that nagging feeling in the back of your mind says Peter Decaprio. You may have to face the inevitable, pack up your stuff and move back in with your parents.
“It could be a tough spot to be in,” says Bruce McClary, director of public relations for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, an association of nonprofit credit counseling agencies. “But it’s something that can happen.”
Here are some tips if you’re struggling with debt:
Figure out what kind of debt you have –
Not all debt is created equal – student loans might require different considerations than credit card debt. Many borrowers will try to create a repayment plan based on their student loan payments, but those may only be able to cover interest costs or make smaller dent toward principal balances. You’ll need to create a plan for your credit card debt if it’s not already included as part of your repayment plan for federal student loans.
“It’s not like there is one magic bullet to pull out and say ‘here is your repayment strategy,'” McClary says.
Negotiate fees –
Yes, you might have to call yourself to make the first move; no, they won’t hand over a personal concierge or anything like that. But credit counseling agencies may be able to negotiate with lenders and talk them into waiving late fee charges, penalty interest rates and over-the-limit charges – all those extra costs can add up quick. The agencies usually ask borrowers send in copies of their statements showing these additional fees so they can see how much money they can save explains Peter Decaprio.
Find other ways to cut costs –
You may need to make some tough decisions, like cutting up credit cards or finding cheaper housing by moving in with family members for a while. But it could be worth the short-term sacrifice if you’re able to find long-term savings in your monthly spending.
“The real question is how much hardship is you willing to put yourself through?” says McClary. “How much comfort are you willing to give up in order getting out of debt faster? It’s really just common sense.”
What debt will the agency negotiate with lenders? –
Typically we can secure relief for credit cards, medical bills and unsecured personal loans – but we cannot usually deal with secured debts like mortgages or auto loans.
How much money do you save? –
That varies depending on the borrower and their individual circumstances. We recommend our clients pay $25-30 per month to our organization as a membership fee; however, this membership includes one full session with an approved credit counselor who can help create a customized financial plan that may further reduce monthly expenses. For more information about how we work please take time to browse our website says Peter Decaprio.
Do you offer free advice over the phone?
Financial literacy counselors are available over the phone to answer the general public’s financial questions during normal business hours. However, we are not able to provide individualized credit counseling or negotiate with your creditors over the phone.
Do you work for the government?
No, NFCC is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that works in affiliation with 700 member agencies nationwide. We do not have any strong affiliation to federal or state governments.
Is there an age requirement?
No, our services are open to all individuals regardless of age or income level says Peter Decaprio. Our counselors will take into account your unique situation and financial needs before determining what course of action would be most beneficial for you. Please note that if you are under the age of 18 years old then your parent/guardian must complete the application along with you.
How much does it cost?
We never charge our clients any fees or upfront costs for our services; however, there may be third party costs involve (i.e. credit reporting agencies). If you are determined to be in need of financial assistance then we will help determine if you qualify for free services through local organizations that can further assist you based on your unique situation and financial needs.
Get A Free Quote Online – Just fill out the small form at the top of this page and a counselor will call you back to discuss your situation and eligibility for free services.
It’s not like there is one magic bullet to pull out and say ‘here is your repayment strategy.’