March 8, 2021
If you’re having a hard time paying your bills, there are two strategies that might help you find relief.
A financial professional can help you decide which one works best for you, but here’s what we know about each approach…
Contact everyone you owe. You don’t need to worry about getting punished for asking a creditor if they’re willing to negotiate. Even if they say no, you still gain the satisfaction of knowing you tried. Doesn’t it make sense that a landlord would want their tenant to pay more than nothing? Or credit card companies would want some level of payment over none at all? It’s worth giving it a shot!
Write a letter explaining your situation. Detail why you’re not able to make payments, state how much you can pay instead, when you believe you’ll start making regular payments, and list your income and assets. You might be surprised by how effective your request for relief actually could be!
Work with a debt counselor. Debt counselors can feel like a life-saving resource if you’re drowning in debt and unable to manage your finances. They can help you understand your credit report, help you negotiate with creditors, and offer advice on how to pay off your debts.
However, verify that the debt counseling agency you work with is properly qualified to help you. Here’s how…
■ Find your counselor through the Financial Counseling Association of America or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. ■ Ask what services they provide for free. Be cautious if they charge for workshops or if they immediately recommend a debt management program. ■ Check their standing with the Better Business Bureau.
Finally, check out the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s website to learn more. They have educational resources, links to useful services, and even templates for appeal and complaint letters.