Debt can seem overwhelming. We add up our several credit cards, those department store cards that maybe saved us 15% once but are now costing more in finance charges, student loans, car loans… Getting debt under control can seem like an impossible task, but it doesn’t have to be. And better yet, you don’t have to try to figure it out alone.
Financial writers Pat Mertz Esswein and Kimberly Lankford of Kiplinger have written a great article detailing ways to get free of financial woes and where to go for help.
Click here to read the full text of “Escape the Great Debt Trap.” Below are some interesting did-you-knows from the article:
1. One in five US homeowners is underwater (owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home).
2. Transfering credit card debt to a new card with an introductory rate (sometimes as low as 0%) can help you pay off debt faster. However, know when the introductory period ends, what the rate will increase to when the period is over, and how much of a fee the financial institution charges for the transfer of debt. Also, be sure you pay on time so you don’t risk losing that introductory rate.
3. With the new HARP (Home Affordable Refinance Program), you may be able to refinance your home, even if you’re underwater. Check with your financial institution to see if you’re eligible.
You don’t have to go it alone. Talk to an offical credit counseling service and get a get-out-of-debt program tailored to your situation. The National Foundation of Credit Counseling (NFCC) maintains a registry of trained and certified counselors. Find one in your area by clicking here.
One note of caution: be wary of counselors who demand payment or make unrealistic promises. Scammers pretend to be financial counselors in order to get you to reveal personal information.