AP – U.S. household debt has dropped and more consumers are paying their bills on time, signaling some growing stability among consumers in a still shaky economy.
A report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that total household debt fell by $78 billion in the second quarter to $11.15 trillion, driven largely by declines in mortgage debt levels. That represents a 0.7 percent dip from the first quarter. This is the lowest total household debt level since 2006, when the housing bubble was at its peak.
It would seem that the rebound in the housing market and a rise in the stock market have boosted household finances in addition to retail spending and consumer confidence. Although overall debt has decreased, Americans have started to increase non-housing debt like auto loans and student loans.
While this may be the national trend, there are still many people who are struggling with debt due to job losses or reduced hours and wages, and they often don’t know what to do about it.
Do you know what to do when you find yourself struggling with debt?
What you need to do first is decide if your problem is due to excess debt or just a money management problem.
A money management problem is where you make enough money to pay your bills; you just spend too much and are bad at managing your money.
A debt problem is a situation in which you are unable to pay your monthly bills without them becoming past due and at the same time preserve a realistic standard of living… in other words; you don’t have enough money left over after paying your bills to pay for your essential living costs.
It’s pretty easy to figure out which problem you have… The first thing to do is list all of your debts then compare it to your income, if there is money left over on paper after subtracting your bills from your income, you have a money management problem. If you don’t even have enough income to cover your monthly bills, it’s a debt problem.
If you recently lost your job or were downsized, and you think your debt problems are temporary, you might try to talk to your creditors as they might be understanding and either reduce your payments or grant you a payment moratorium. Do not ignore your debt problem, make a call to your creditors and see what you can do.
If the person you speak to doesn’t offer any help, ask to speak to someone more senior. Be sure to keep a record of all phone calls you make, including the name of the person you speak to.
If your debt problems are more serious, the professionals at DebtHelper.com can explain the benefits of a debt management program and provide you with a fresh start.
One of the biggest long-term benefits of the debt management plan is the reduction in interest. Reduced interest allows you to pay off your principal balances faster while saving you possibly thousands of dollars in finance charges.
In order to determine if you are eligible for a debt management program, you can fill out an online budget application form now and then you can contact one of their Certified Personal Finance Counselors© at (800) 920-2262.
DebtHelper.com can currently accept clients from the states listed here. DebtHelper.com is licensed, insured and complies with all state licensing requirements to ensure mandated regulations are followed. They are diligently working on becoming licensed in every state and are opening new states monthly.
Please call (800) 920-2262 if you have any questions. DebtHelper.com’s consultations are free, call them any time.