Credit & Debt

By: Virginia Meza

Debt: The state of owing.

Foreclosure: The process of taking possession of a mortgaged property as a result of the mortgagor's failure to keep up mortgage payments.

Ways to Avoid Debt?

  • Set a budget and know your financial status.
  • Have a financial advisor, to be assist more.
  • Know your top priorities and what needs to be taken care of first.

How do individuals accumulate debt?

  1. Reduce income, yet same expenses..
  2. Unemployment
  3. Poor money management
  4. Medical expenses
  5. Gambling

Bankruptcy Pre-Planning

Before bankruptcy you should work with your attorney to come up with a plan that will protect your assets while also providing a high level of debt relief.

  • Pay for Essentials
  • Stop Using Credit Cards
  • Switch Bank Accounts
  • Stop Automated Payments

Need Help??

Individuals can be assisted in many ways when in debt, for example the ones below.

  • Most major banks, including Citigroup, Bank of America, Visa, and more have launched an assistance program called “Help With My Credit”. It is a service offered to help families and individuals of all backgrounds and incomes.
  • Debt management plans from Consumer Credit Counseling Services and other third party organizations exist that can help you find solutions to credit card debt problems. These not for profit credit counseling agencies offer a host of solutions, including debt management plans, assistance with negotiating, and information on other programs that may aid you.
  • Help from debt collectors. Find how to get help from debt collectors and learn how to stop collection calls and receive other assistance. Many government laws and regulations can also help protect you from aggressive collection tactics.

Debt Collectors

Tips To Do:

  1. Get information in writing.
  2. If you don't believe you owe the money, dispute the debt in writing.
  3. Keep records of phone calls and messages.

Tips Not To Do:

  1. Losing your temper.
  2. Making promises or admitting the debt is valid.
  3. Giving a debt collector your personal financial information.

Bankruptcy Options

Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy designed for debtors with regular income who can pay back at least a portion of their debts through a repayment plan. If you make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have no choice but to file a Chapter 13 case.

Chapter 13: People want to go with chapter 13 when bankruptcy when they have many assets and they want to pay back in small amounts.

Chapter 7: Chapter 7 bankruptcy is best when individuals have few assets and not much to lose.


It takes ten years for an individual to recover from bankruptcy.

Long term disadvantages:

It shows up every time a prospective landlord, credit card, or lender runs your credit to see if you are a good bet for loaning money. In contrast, other credit indicators only stay on your report for seven years.

Debt is not kind to your credit report so it may be worthwhile to cut your losses and try to start fresh. But it's also worth asking if there is a way to pay down the debt and avoid having a long term mark on your record.