Consolidating credit card debt for students

Are you worried about losing your home or your car? Many people face a financial crisis at some point in their lives.

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Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: self-help using realistic budgeting and other techniques; debt relief services, like credit counseling or debt settlement from a reputable organization; debt consolidation; or bankruptcy. It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.

They can tell you if any consumer complaints are on file about the firm you're considering doing business with.

Ask your state Attorney General if the company is required to be licensed to work in your state and, if so, whether it is.

Don’t wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector.

At that point, your creditors have given up on you.

Unsecured debts are not tied to any particular asset, and include most credit card debt, bills for medical care, and signature loans.

Most automobile financing agreements allow a creditor to repossess your car any time you’re in default. If your car is repossessed, you may have to pay the balance due on the loan, as well as towing and storage costs, to get it back.

The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Then, list your "fixed" expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums.

Next, list the expenses that vary — like groceries, entertainment, and clothing.

Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you.

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