Consumers who find themselves financially burdened and saddled with heavy debt have several debt relief options at their disposal, including repayment programs and credit counseling services. And although bankruptcy is one option to deal with financial problems, it's generally considered the option of last resort. The reason: its long-term negative impact on your credit worthiness. Bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stays on your credit report for 10 years, and can hinder your ability to get credit, a job, insurance, or even a place to live. If you're having trouble paying your bills, consider other possibilities before filing for bankruptcy. The following resources will help you get a grip on your finances, find relief for your debts, and decide whether or not bankruptcy is the right option for you.
Paying Down Debt
Most consumers will encounter debt during their lifetimes, whether it's in the form of student loans or an expanding credit card balance. While some debt may not be a problem, unmanageable debt can take on a life of its own. Paying down debt can be a daunting task. There are no "one-size-fits-all" solutions, but having the right information is an important first step
Which Debt to Pay Off First
One of the most common questions people ask themselves when they decide to tackle their debt is, "Where do I start?" All financial situations are different, making that question difficult to answer in simple terms. Some possible ways to handle debt include knowing what kind of debt you're dealing with, figuring out what will give you the biggest boost such as paying your highest-rate bad debt first, and considering the effect on your credit score.
Consumer Credit and Debt Counseling
For those who are deep in debt, counseling is a great way to solve bigger-picture financial questions while managing day-to-day cash flow challenges. A number of debt counseling organizations are classified as "nonprofit," but that does not necessarily mean they offer free, affordable, or even legitimate services. Not all consumer counseling services are created equal, while the least reputable ones can actually worsen your financial situation. In order to make an informed decision, you should ask questions and do your research.
Making a Budget
If you're working to cut down your debt, making a budget is an essential first step. Creating and sticking to a budget is also an important way to avoid debt in the first place. By mapping out your regular expenses, you can get a clear picture of your finances and act accordingly. Consider prioritizing your debts, making a budget, refinancing your loans, surviving the holidays on a budget, managing your expenses, and avoiding excessive spending.
How a Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help with Debt Relief
Feeling like you're drowning in debt can be stressful, but there are ways to get some relief from debt. One way to help ease some of the stress and get back on track is to speak with an attorney. So, if you have questions about how to pay off debt or need help filing for bankruptcy, you should consider speaking with a skilled bankruptcy attorney in your area.