Debt Management Resources


Debt becomes a slippery slope — and a downward spiral — if you don't know how to manage it well. Learn how to live alongside debt without accumulating more of it, what steps you can take to eliminate debt, and important information on the kinds of professional help that's available for people in debt. Use the links below to jump ahead to any section.

Living with Debt

Acknowledge You Have a Problem with Debt
There is a reason why nearly every "recovery" program has the exact same first step. The wording may vary slightly, but the underlying message is consistent: acknowledge the problem.

Debt-Free Living IS Attainable: If You Want It, You Can Have It
We need to recognize that living a debt-free life is actually within our grasp.

Get a Grip on Your Debt: How to Obtain a Clear, Concise Financial Snapshot
Before we can know where we are going, it helps to know where we currently are. We want to examine our current situation, stop the bleeding, and keep our focus on moving forward and on the new habits we will be installing (not the old ones that led to our problems).

Funding Your 401(k) When You're in Debt
If there are two pieces of financial advice that get hammered more often than any others, they're "Get out of debt" and "Put enough in your 401(k) to get any corporate match." With times getting tough, how do you balance those two choices?

Contributing to a Roth Versus Paying Down Debt
Usually it makes more sense to just get the debt paid off, but the Roth is a special case because of the tax advantages and the very long time-scale. Wise Bread blogger Philip Brewer walks through his approach to this problem.

Tallying the True Cost of Debt
On the human side, the consequences of debt are never isolated. As hard as we try to compartmentalize our problems, the lines often become blurred.

How Debt Fools People
The reason debt fools people is that even when the cost of the debt is perfectly reasonable, the lost flexibility means any little problem can kick off a debt spiral.

Worried About Debt? Tips on Managing Your Loans
If you've got a lot of loans under your belt, you'll want to make sure to manage them well, or risk wrecking your credit by making a late payment somewhere. Here are a few tip to keep your debt under control and ways to speed up the process of reducing your debt load.

How to Deal with Collection Agencies
Regain your power as a consumer from the collection agencies.

Dealing with Nasty Debt Collectors
You may (or may not) be delinquent with a debt payment, but debt collectors don't have carte blanche with regards to how they can hustle the money from you. They can only go so far, and it pays to know your rights.

Steps to Eliminate Debt

6 Steps to Eliminating Your Debt Painlessly
If you have a number of different debt, you might be wondering where to start paying them off. Here's a smart strategy that will get you going.

5 Strategies To Wipe Out Your Credit Card Balance
So you're ready to stop using your credit card(s) recklessly, but what to do about a balance that has been piling up every month? Here are 5 strategies to help you reduce the debt on your cards and maintain a monthly balance that works for you.

When to Use Savings to Pay Off Debt
You have $X in savings but $Y in credit card debt — should you use the savings to pay down the debt? The answer, of course, depends on your situation. Here's how to do the analysis.

Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards
Current economic times call for drastic measures, and Suze Orman has changed her stance on paying off all credit card balances as the very first money management advice.

Get Out of Debt First, Then Focus on Saving
When you're in debt, it's nearly impossible to save money. Here are some tips for getting out of debt so you can save or invest the money you're currently using to make your debt repayments.

Goal Setting: Getting Out of Debt Once and For All
Getting out of debt is easier said than done, so start off on the right foot by setting the right kind of goal.

When It's Time to Destroy Debt, Start With a Goal
If you have a vague idea of a destination — like living debt-free — but you're not really sure how to get there or how long the trip will take, it could be because you don't know what your specific goals are.

Getting Professional Help

Dealing With Debt: Credit Counselors
Hiring a credit counseling counselor is a great way to get help with debts. There's no shortage of them out there, and many will help you for free. But look before you leap.

Credit Counseling: When You Need It and When You Don't
Is it time to see a credit counselor about your debt? If it is, find out how to find and what to ask to get the most out of it.

Solving a Debt Dilemma with Debt Settlement
Debt settlement companies are advertising a lot these days on TV, radio and online. If you're in a jam, they might sound tempting. Should you bite?

How You Know When It's Time For Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is the ultimate debt destroyer, because rather than paying it back, you're often wiping it out, or at least partially so. When is bankruptcy the right choice? Ultimately, you file bankruptcy because there's no other way out.

How to File for Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is the last resort to dealing with debt: when a person finds himself in so much debt that paying it off simply isn't an option, bankruptcy can be the only way to handle the situation.

Life After Bankruptcy: What's Next?
Whether you file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, there are repercussions to going through this process. However, like with other setbacks in life, you can recover.

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