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Consolidating student loans and credit card debt

If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first.

consolidating student loans and credit card debt-61

Most lenders are willing to work with you if they believe you're acting in good faith and the situation is temporary.Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: self-help using realistic budgeting and other techniques; debt relief services, like credit counseling or debt settlement from a reputable organization; debt consolidation; or bankruptcy. It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.If you and your lender can’t work out a plan, contact a housing counseling agency.Some agencies limit their counseling services to homeowners with FHA mortgages, but many offer free help to any homeowner who’s having trouble making mortgage payments.And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage.

If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house.

Federal law dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you: not before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls.

Collectors may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices when they try to collect a debt.

Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops.

Their counselors are certified and trained in consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting.

Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector.