Credit card debt, what it does to us, and how to deal with it.

Are you overwhelmed by the amount of debt you have? Have you been late on your credit card payments or struggled to make a payment? Does debt just keep piling up? Being in debt can be such a great burden on your life keeping you form taking care of other important expenses.

Having debt will also negatively affect your credit. This can prevent you from obtaining a loan for a home or a car, a student loan, renting, and even keep you from employment. It can also affect your interest rates. If a lender sees your credit score is low, they will give you a higher interest rate on your loan.

There are also the negative effects on your health. Often being in financial trouble will make you stressed and anxious, keeping you from sleep and affecting your physical activities.

Its time for you to free yourself from debt; to end those annoying calls from creditors and bill collectors; to have peace of mind. Think about how much money you could be saving if you were not paying off that car, home, medical bills, or credit cards every month. How great would it feel knowing that you can keep your home or car and not lose it to your lender? In these difficult financial times wouldnt it be a relief to know that something can be done to liberate you of your burden? Well, something can be done.

When reviewing your options, you will find that you can file for bankruptcy, turn to Credit Counseling, Debt Consolidation or Debt Settlement. When analyzing your situation it is important to analyze the pros and cons of each program. In addition, a reputable company should be chosen to ensure the proper follow up is done.

One of your options, Bankruptcy, can stay on your credit for 7-10 years and will follow you for the rest of your life. In addition, the laws have changed over the years to force you to pay back a portion of your debt.

Another option out there is Debt Consolidation, which is basically taking out a loan from your propertys equity to pay off unsecured debt (your credit cards). The problem is that with sinking housing values, the little equity you have remaining may get eaten or significantly reduced (they can also take your house if you do not pay). Many times people who pay off their credit card debt with an equity loan fall right back into debt again. Although many people say they wont fall back into that trap again, an alarming many do.

Another common program people enroll in is Credit Counseling. Credit Counseling basically acts as intermediary between you and your creditors. They usually arrange one payment for you to pay off your debt in typically 5 years. This is done by negotiating down your interest rate on all your cards. One of the major problems with this approach is that there many “non-for profit companies” that are in actuality funded by the credit card companies themselves. There is definitely a conflict of interest here so be wary.

The last option available to consumers is Debt Settlement. With Debt Settlement, professional negotiators will negotiate with the credit card companies to reduce your principal balance between 40 60 % (say you owe $ 10,000. They will bring it down to $4,000). Payment plans are setup which is usually much lower than credit counseling. In addition, you do not pay interest and they negotiate down on what you owe on the card. The problem with debt settlement companies is that you need to ensure that the company you enroll with has a third party collecting your payments.