Debt management is an increasingly prevalent issue for the American consumer. The rising cost of homes, outrageous gas prices and skyrocketing medical costs has sent many American families into a downward spiral of debt.
If you are overwhelmed with debt, you should not be ashamed, or feel hopeless – rather concentrate on taking corrective action. The first thing you should do in your debt management journey is to determine your debt burden. To do this create a spreadsheet or write on a piece of paper, 3 categories: (a) Credit card debt (b) Loans (c) Other.
Credit card debt. List all your credit cards, their interest rates and balance.
Loans. List all loans including your car loans, student loans, home equity loans, etc.
Other. List all other debts such as utility bills, money borrowed from friends and family, etc.
Determine the subtotal for each category. After this determine your total debt burden by combining all subtotals.
Congratulations! You just passed Debt Management 101.
Depending on how large your debt burden is, you may want to seek the services of a debt management company or at least inquire about their service offerings. A reputable debt management organization will be more than willing to give you a free consultation. The key is to find a company that you are comfortable with.
Expert debt management programs range from Christian debt management services to nonprofit debt management organizations to private companies. One is not better than the other – do your homework and find one that is right for you. Contact your State Attorney’s office or Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find out, if the organization has any negative marks.
If you haven't done so already, take advantage of your free government credit report and compare it to the list discussed above to ensure that there are no surprises. Congratulations - you have passed Debt Management 102.