If overwhelming debt is causing you stress, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety and depression because of difficulty with their financial obligations.
Whatever the cause – be it over-spending, job loss, or emergency expenses such as medical bills – the action you take to beat the “bill blues” is the same.
Talk about it. You may feel alone. Yet the moment you begin to discuss your money problems, you’ll find that not only do you have the support of others, but discussing it can make you feel a lot better. If you believe your “debting” is compulsive, you may want to talk to the professionals like those at Debtors Anonymous. Log on to www.debtorsanonymous.org or call 800-421-2383 to find a meeting near you.
Put it in perspective. Do you have your health? The love and support from friends and family? Then focus on the good things in your life. It’s hard, but you are going to need to be optimistic to make positive changes.
Confront the problem. Rather than hiding from bill collectors, regain control by answering the calls. Be calm and rational. Understand the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, a law that protects your rights as a consumer. Write to your creditors to explain your situation. Include what led to the problem (even if it was your “fault”) and how you plan to fix it.
Fight inertia. Doing nothing, while easier than taking action, will get you nowhere. Get up and get out, but resist the urge to shop if your spending is out of hand. If you are already loaded down with debt, and keep receiving offers for more credit cards in the mail, destroy them and throw them away. Consider removing your name from promotional lists by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com or by calling 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688).
Prioritize your spending. Chances are, there are expenses you can reduce or cut out that can immediately relieve some of the pressure. Review your spending and eliminate expenses that aren’t absolutely essential. Prioritize according to necessity – basic needs such as food, housing, utilities and children’s expenses come first―everything else after.
Your Credit Union Can Help.
You’re part of our member family and should never feel you can’t approach us for expert, caring advice and support. Reach out to us as a first step to discuss your circumstances. You can also take advantage of our free Financial Wellness Check. This relaxed review with one of our branch councilors can help identify ways to cut costs and even earn more―while avoiding potentially damaging pitfalls that contribute to financial difficulty. Learn more here.