Credit card debt levels have been climbing after a long decline, and credit card debt remains a major problem for many people.
Here are a few ideas to help you manage problem credit card debt:
1. Wean yourself off of credit cards by using debit cards. After an initial pop, your monthly overall cost will be about the same, and you'll save the interest.
2. Check your credit reports. If you already have a bad payment history, you don't need to make sacrifices to save your credit score.
3. Figure out what you are spending and develop a budget based on your needs. Then decide what you can pay on your credit cards and make your payments fit your budget.
4. If you can't afford any credit card payments, quit making payments and begin living on a cash basis. You'll have a bad credit score either way, but it's better to keep your cash to live on.
5. Once you quit making payments credit card companies normally will begin offering discount payoff deals. After a couple of years these discounts can reach 80 or 90 percent.
6. Do not use your home equity or retirement funds to repay credit cards. Your creditors normally can't reach these assets, and you should keep them for your family's future.
7. Try to get interest reductions from the credit card companies, but remember that people who are struggling to pay principal can't be forced to pay interest either.
8. Don't keep cash in banks where you have credit cards or debts. Most have a "Right of Offset" and can take your cash whenever they want to.
9. If you are able to make payments, do not sacrifice family needs, savings or a home purchase to pay off your debt early. You are in a race to build your life, not pay off your debt.
10. God invented bankruptcy (See Deut. 15: 1-15), so there is no shame in it. It is often not the best solution, but it is a moral option.
11. We advise people to develop a debt relief plan to deal with your debts using our system of debt relief. With a plan, we have found that everyone can escape from financial bondage.
12. Do not be afraid to talk to credit card collectors. Try to get them to participate in your debt relief plan.
13.You do not have to talk to abusive credit card collectors. Get caller ID and screen them out.
14. Abraham Lincoln's life taught us that almost everyone suffers a financial reverse. Keep on building your life, don't give up, and you can still achieve your destiny.
Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.
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