Debt Counseling

If you have debt problems, you're not alone. Consider contacting a debt counseling service for assistance. Make sure they are qualified to assist you and check with the Better Business Bureau before working with a debt counseling service. There are programs designed individually to assist consumers with debt repayment.

Some involve:

  1. You and your counselor setting up a budget using your income and expenses as a guideline.
  2. Your counselor arranging a debt management plan, and your creditors being asked to accept a payment schedule.
  3. You agree not to incur additional debt while on the plan and make regular monthly deposits to a creditor's trust account maintained by the counseling agency.
  4. Payments are sent to your creditors monthly. You receive a statement of your progress, as well as your usual statements from your creditors.
  5. Your counselor will monitor your plan and help you with your questions or problems.
  6. When you successfully complete your plan, an exit interview will be arranged and you will be advised on reestablishing credit.

Debt Consolidation

If you have a significant amount of consumer debt (credit card, cars, etc.), you should consider consolidating your debt to decrease the amount of interest you pay. If you have equity in your home, an equity line could accomplish this task. If not, contact your bank or other lenders to determine your options.

Automatic Savings

The best way to become financially independent is to start saving now by putting money aside without it touching your hands. One way to do this is to have a portion of your paycheck deposited directly to a savings account. Your goal should be to save at least 10% of your income or more if you have loftier goals, such as early retirement. However, to accomplish this you may need to start small and work your way up.