Posts Tagged ‘credit cards’

How To Avoid A Deadly Trap

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2011 at 9:20 am

Credit cards are so useful and convenient. At least until you suffer a loss of income. Or unexpected medical expense. Or divorce. Or any other problem that impacts your ability to make monthly payments. Then credit cards become a trap. Think you can talk to the credit card company about lowering payments? Don’t count on it. My clients tell me that they get nowhere when they ask for a break. Miss three payments and watch your interest rate climb to 30%. Good luck trying to catch up payments after that.

You could get lucky and have a way to pay off the card. You could borrow against your home, but that is getting hard to do. You may have a retirement account you could tap into. If you can get together a lump sum payment, your creditor may settle for 50 cents on the dollar.

Other alternatives include debt consolidation companies and bankruptcy. Be careful with debt consolidation. I hear many horror stories from clients about them. It’s an unregulated industry. Many companies are being sued for false promises and fraud.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you adjust payments on your debts based on an amount you can afford. You get the payment amount approved by a court trustee. You don’t need your creditors to agree.

If you are in default on your payments, your credit score has already taken a hit. Bankruptcy can stop the downward slide and help you to rebuild it. It’s a way to avoid the deadly credit card trap.