It’s hard enough to deal with the death of a spouse, let alone settle that person’s financial affairs. Here’s what you need to know about handling credit card debt after your spouse has died.
Contact Your Spouse’s Creditors
If a credit card was issued only in your husband or wife’s name, you generally are not responsible for paying off the debt. You need to tell the credit card company that your spouse has died. The credit card firm will more than likely write off the account. Read the rest of this entry »
Writing for Forbes Magazine, economist Desmond Lachman asserts that those forecasting the end of the US economic recession are “grossly underestimating the negative impact of falling household incomes and household de-leveraging upon US consumer demand.” Mr. Lachman believes that US consumers are withholding purchases due to worries about their jobs and lack of available credit resources. He also cites Americans’ high debt levels and losses associated with plunging home values and loss of home equity. Although mortgage rates remain relatively low, potential homebuyers may be putting of buying a home until they have more confidence in long term financial security.
Ditching Your Debt: Consumer Credit Counseling Can Help
If you’re scraping along each month by making minimum payments on several credit card accounts, you’re not alone. As of the end of 2008, US households holding at least one credit card owed an average of $10,679. Consumer credit counselors can assist with eliminating debt in the following ways:
Budget counseling: Credit counselors carefully review your monthly gross income and expenses including housing payments, living expenses, savings, and credit card debt. Based on information you supply, they’ll provide a cash based budget for meeting your needs and paying off debt.
Repaying credit card debt: Credit counselors can negotiate with your credit card companies to arrange and affordable repayment agreement. These plans can last up to five years, and may include waivers or reductions of interest, late fees, and other charges that would otherwise add to your debt.
Debt consolidation: When your credit counseling service establishes the terms of your debt repayment agreement, they’ll provide you with a written agreement outlining the terms, dates, and conditions of your repayment agreement. You will make one monthly payment to your credit counseling service, and they will deduct their service fee and distribute the balance to your creditors according to the terms of your repayment agreement. This reduces debt management from a confusing pile of paper to a streamlined process of writing one monthly check to your credit counseling service.
Evaluating Credit Counseling Services
First of all, there are a few things that credit counseling services cannot do. They cannot “fix” your credit reports or remove negative reporting information. It’s also important to know that although credit counseling services may help you resolve your credit card debt problems, they cannot guarantee that you’ll qualify for new credit after your debt management plan is completed.
When choosing a credit counseling service, please be aware that there are legions of scams and unscrupulous opportunities for getting ripped off. Avoid any service requesting advance payment, or that offers assistance without reviewing your financial situation first. Stay away from services offering “overnight credit repair” or “instant results” There is no legitimate way to improve your credit standing without investing time and hard work.
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Welcome to the DebtHelp Blog
This blog covers a wide variety of debt consolidation and loan topics.
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Chris Rocks is the Regional Director of the National Credit Federation (NCF). NCF is a nationwide membership-based organization that assists consumers recovering from a financial difficulty and those who need a significant increase in their credit score.
Chris began his financial services career as a Financial Advisor helping young families with risk management and asset accumulation strategies. It was during that time that Chris realized that many of these young families also needed someone to guide their choices with regards to debt management.
He made the transition into the mortgage industry where he first worked as a loan originator and later the Vice President of a small mortgage company. As Chris came across clients who had suffered through financial challenges and saw the difficulty they had in re-entering our credit driven economy, he discovered there was a real opportunity to leverage his unique background and help others.
He can be contacted by visiting his personal site, GoodCreditLiving.com.
Francine L. Huff is the Publisher and Editorial Director of Super Savvy Publishing, LLC, which provides editorial and publishing services. She is a gifted author, freelance journalist, and motivational speaker who has entertained and motivated a variety of audiences through workshops, panels and keynote addresses. Francine is the author of The 25-Day Money Makeover for Women, which has inspired and motivated many readers to rein in poor financial habits, become good stewards over their money and work toward a debt-free life. She has appeared on a variety of TV and radio shows. Francine previously worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she was the spot news bureau chief, a news editor and a copy editor. She has interviewed a variety of financial professionals about financial issues and strives to present information about managing money in an easy-to-understand format that is accessible to people of all backgrounds and income levels.
Karen Lawson is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience working in mortgage banking and loan servicing. She holds BA and MA degrees in English from the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys writing informative articles about debt management and personal finance.