SAN MATEO, Calif., Nov. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Credit card and other debt continues to rise month after month, and more people are struggling to pay their bills, says Andrew Housser, co-founder and CEO of Freedom Debt Relief (FDR) – but they can take steps to get out of debt on their own or with help.
As of September, U.S. consumers owe $3.79 trillion in consumer debt. The average household with credit card debt owes nearly $17,000 on cards. In October, sources reported that credit card delinquencies increased for the third consecutive month, meaning that more people are unable to pay on time.
"Many people struggle with debt, but they may be surprised to learn how many options are available," says Housser.
Housser and Freedom Debt Relief, which has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, present a range of debt relief options.
1. Earn extra income. "Now is an excellent time to generate additional income, and devote it to paying down debt," Housser says. "In many areas of the country, unemployment is near record lows." Besides taking on a part-time job, consumers can tutor, babysit, housesit, do yard work, shovel snow, offer pet sitting or pet walking services, or turn a hobby into a money-making pursuit. The end of the year is a good time to organize the house, attic, basement and garage, and sell unneeded items.
2. Transfer credit card balances. People with strong credit may be able to use promotional-rate balance-transfer offers to pay off a high-interest account. Keep careful track of payment schedules and make sure you can pay off the balance before the promotional period – and interest rate – ends.
3. Apply for a personal loan. A personal loan can refinance credit card debt into a fixed, amortizing installment loan. Available from independent lenders, a personal loan can lower the total interest paid while providing a single monthly payment. Personal loans often can provide lower rates than many credit cards. The discipline required to pay interest and principal every month makes it a good choice for many people working to get out of debt.
4. Ask for lower rates or hardship status. Some creditors will be responsive to requests to lower an interest rate (which will lower minimum payments). Those who have truly experienced a hardship, such as a job loss, may be able to work out extended payment plans. Especially if the problem is due to a natural disaster or other emergency, it is worth asking, Housser says.
5. Seek credit counseling. For those who have too many credit cards with too-high interest rates, credit counseling programs may help. Most arrange a debt management plan that reduces interest rates, and therefore, monthly payments. With these plans, most consumers take about five years to get out of debt.
6. Seek debt negotiation (settlement) help. A trusted debt relief professional can negotiate directly with creditors to help consumers resolve unsecured debt balances in 24 to 48 months. Typically, debt negotiation is best suited for people who are struggling to make minimum payments and would otherwise need to consider credit counseling or bankruptcy.
7. File bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a last resort for people in severe debt. It impacts credit profiles and scores for several years, and qualification can be difficult. If considering this option, speak to a bankruptcy attorney licensed in your state.
"Whether you can resolve your own debt struggles or need help from a professional, there is hope," says Housser. "It is possible to find financial peace of mind."
Freedom Debt Relief
Co-founded by Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, Freedom Debt Relief is a subsidiary of Freedom Financial Network, LLC (FFN), a family of companies providing innovative solutions that empower people to live healthier financial lives. For people struggling with debt, Freedom Debt Relief offers a custom program to significantly reduce and resolve what they owe more quickly than they could on their own. For more information about the company and its services, see www.freedomdebtrelief.com/what-we-do.
Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freedom Debt Relief also operates an office in Tempe, Arizona, and employs roughly 2,000 people. The company has been voted one of the best places to work in both the San Francisco Bay area and the Phoenix area for several years.
Contact: Aimee Bennett, Fagan Business Communications, 303-843-9840, [email protected]
SOURCE Freedom Debt Relief