Are you in too much debt? Think hard before you answer that question. We vastly underestimate or underreport our debt, according to Nerdwallet’s study of household credit card debt. In fact, our average debt is a shocking 155 percent more than the balances we report.
If you’re not sure if your credit card debt is out of control, find out here by answering four simple questions. And if you do need some help managing your debt, here’s who you can turn to for help:
1. Consumer Credit Counseling Services
The most widely available help managing your debt is with a Consumer Credit Counseling Services (CCCS) counselor. CCCS’ network of non-profit counselors can work with you confidentially and judgement-free to help you develop a budget, figure out your options, and negotiate with creditors to repay your debts. Best of all, the 45-90 minute counseling sessions are free of charge and come with no obligations.
You can connect with a National Foundation for Credit Counseling CCCS credit counselor by calling 1-800-388-2227 or getting started online here.
2. Cooperative Extension Offices
The Cooperative Extension System is federally supported and offers non-formal education and learning activities to people nationwide. Located in many communities in locations like public universities, Cooperative Extension offices offer workshops, home-study courses, and other services to help people manage their money, including their debts. Find a Cooperative Extension office near you here.
3. Legal Aid
If your debts are too large, you may want to consider bankruptcy. Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start, but it is a serious step that can make it harder to get credit for years after you declare bankruptcy. There are 134 independent and non-profit legal aid organizations in every state, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories that can provide free legal counsel to low-income Americans. Find your local legal aid agency here. If you don’t qualify for their services, ask them for a referral to a bankruptcy attorney.
Looking for more information about credit and debt? Learn how to raise your credit score in less than a year here.
Or need motivation to get out of debt? Let America Saves help you reach your debt reduction goals. It all starts when you make a commitment to yourself to save. Take the first step today and take the America Saves pledge to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth over time. And it doesn’t stop there. America Saves will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.