When bills keep piling up, you may feel overwhelmed and wonder how to survive today when you cannot seem to get past yesterday. Some Florida beachcombers who find themselves under a growing pile of debt can only blame their personal spending habits and uncontrollable use of credit cards.
But this is not you. You have managed a budget since you got money for chores as a five-year-old. Your spouse’s unexpected layoff from the job plus the medical bills from last year’s surgery have simply proven too much. What can you do?
Seek credit counseling but be selective
Credit counseling is one option. The Federal Trade Commission warns to be careful when choosing a counselor, however. They are not all the same, and not all have your best interest at heart.
The FTC gives tips for your search:
- Look for trained – and certified, if possible – counselors
- Find out if they receive bonuses when you sign up for services – if they do, look elsewhere
- Be sure they will help you whether or not you can afford to pay for services
- Verify that they offer many options, not only a debt management plan
Make use of free resources
Credit counseling agencies should be willing to provide a number of free resources to get you started on your debt relief journey. According to the FTC, they should do this without any information from you. You should feel no pressure to disclose personal details about the situation you are in, and the FTC says if you do, you should immediately move on to another organization that is more reputable.
This information serves to educate the public about debt relief and does not provide legal advice.