Got Debt? Tips to Improve Your Financial Situation

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Any bookkeeping, business or tax article contained in this communication, including attachments and enclosures, is not intended as a thorough, in-depth analysis of specific issues, nor a substitute for a formal opinion, nor can it be used to avoid tax-related penalties. If desired, we would be pleased to perform the requisite research and provide you with a detailed written analysis. Such an engagement may be the subject of a separate engagement letter that would define the scope and limits of the desired consultation services.

If you are having trouble paying your debts, it is important to take action sooner rather than later. Doing nothing leads to much larger problems in the future, whether it’s a bad credit record or bankruptcy resulting in the loss of assets and even your home. If you’re in financial trouble, then these steps will help you to avoid financial ruin in the future.

If you’ve accumulated a large amount of debt and are having difficulty paying your bills each month, now is the time to take action – before the bill collectors start calling.

1. Review each debt. Make sure that the debt creditors claim you owe is actually what you owe and that the amount is correct. If you dispute a debt, first contact the creditor directly to resolve your questions. If you still have questions about the debt, contact your state or local consumer protection office or, in cases of serious creditor abuse, your state Attorney General.

2. Contact your creditors. Let your creditors know you are having difficulty making your payments. Tell them why you are having trouble, perhaps it is because you recently lost your job or have unexpected medical bills. Try to work out an acceptable payment schedule with your creditors. Most are willing to work with you and will appreciate your honesty and forthrightness.

3. Budget your expenses. Create a spending plan that allows you to reduce your debts. Itemize your necessary expenses (such as housing and healthcare) and optional expenses (such as entertainment and vacation travel). Stick to the plan.

4. Try to reduce your expenses. Cut out any unnecessary spending such as eating out and purchasing expensive entertainment. Consider taking public transportation or using a car-sharing service rather than owning a car. Clip coupons, purchase generic products at the supermarket and avoid impulse purchases. Above all, stop incurring new debt. Leave your credit cards at home. Pay for all purchases in cash or use a debit card instead of a credit card.

5. Pay down and consolidate your debts. Withdrawing savings from low-interest accounts to settle high-rate loans or credit card debt usually makes sense. In addition, there are several ways to pay off high-interest loans, such as credit cards, by getting a refinancing or consolidation loan, such as a second mortgage. Keep in mind, however, that second mortgages greatly increase the risk that you may lose your home.

Be wary of any loan consolidations or other refinancing that actually increase interest owed, or require payments of points or large fees.

You can regain financial health if you act responsibly. But don’t wait until bankruptcy court is your only option. If you’re having financial troubles, help is just a phone call away.

Tips to Improve Your Financial Situation

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