Debt Management Overview

Few things in life are more stressful than facing a hefty amount of debt. No matter how much you owe, debt can make living your life nearly impossible. Whether it is creditors seeking repayment or collection agencies leaving threatening messages, nothing about the situation is easy. Fortunately, there are many methods available that can help you manage your debt and regain control of your financial situation. According to a 2012 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, these debt management strategies have helped Americans cut their aggregate debt by $100 billion in less than a year.

Credit Counselors

One of the most harmful side effects of substantial debt is a bad credit score. A credit score is based on your outstanding debts and record of repayment. Credit scores are used for financial lending and leasing purposes. Many banks will refuse to make a loan to an individual whose credit score is below a certain level. If you are dealing with a low credit score or having trouble managing debt, a credit counselor can help. Credit counselors will review your financial situation and help you determine your best options for gaining control of your finances. Credit counselors can also provide you with basic information on money management and can assist you with targeting areas in your finances that can be reallocated to debt repayment or savings. Most importantly, a credit counselor will help you establish a financial plan going forward that can thwart new sources of debt and ensure that your financial situation continues to approve. Many credit counseling services are hosted by non-profit organizations and offer free or low-cost services.

Read more about credit counseling.

Debt Management Plans

Another method for handling debt is to establish a debt management plan, which includes an agreement between the debtor and the loan provider or creditor regarding the debtor’s repayment of outstanding amounts. Some of the advantages to seeking a debt management plan include the availability of lower interest rates, extended repayment terms, or a reduction of the total debt owed. In some situations, a debt management plan involves consolidating your debt, setting up automatic payments, or entering into a contract with the debt management plan provider. Frequently, a credit counseling agency will assist the debtor with negotiating the terms of the debt management plan. The counselor will review the debtor’s finances and income, and help the debtor set up a payment plan.

Read more about debt management plans.

Mortgage Loan Modification

Mortgage loan modifications are another popular way to restructure your debt, especially if the debtor owes a significant amount on a home loan. For example, if your financial circumstances change after you take out a home loan, a mortgage loan modification can help you adjust the interest rate or repayment term in order to accommodate your new financial abilities. A modification can also help prevent a foreclosure proceeding, in which the bank takes possession of the home and sells it in order to cover the outstanding debt, and it is less injurious to the debtor’s credit score than a foreclosure.

Finally, saving money, no matter how small or large the sum, can help you bounce back from an unexpected financial situation in the future. It may seem impossible to save money while paying down debt, but utilizing one of these debt management strategies can help you figure out how to start creating a rainy day fund or nest egg.