And they must honor a written request from you to stop further contact. Secured debts usually are tied to an asset, like your car for a car loan, or your house for a mortgage.If you stop making payments, lenders can repossess your car or foreclose on your house.Federal law dictates how and when a debt collector may contact you: not before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while you’re at work if the collector knows that your employer doesn’t approve of the calls.
If you’re thinking about getting help to stabilize your financial situation, do some homework first.Find out what services a business provides, how much it costs, and how long it may take to get the results they promised. Get everything in writing, and read your contracts carefully.Call the local office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development or the housing authority in your state, city, or county for help in finding a legitimate housing counseling agency near you.If you’re struggling with significant credit card debt, and can’t work out a repayment plan with your creditors on your own, consider contacting a debt relief service like credit counseling or debt settlement.Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.
If you or someone you know is in financial hot water, consider these options: self-help using realistic budgeting and other techniques; debt relief services, like credit counseling or debt settlement from a reputable organization; debt consolidation; or bankruptcy. It depends on your level of debt, your level of discipline, and your prospects for the future.Other lenders may agree to change the terms of the mortgage by extending the repayment period to reduce the monthly debt.Ask whether additional fees would be assessed for these changes, and calculate how much they total in the long term.Contact your creditors immediately if you’re having trouble making ends meet.Tell them why it’s difficult for you, and try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level.The first step toward taking control of your financial situation is to do a realistic assessment of how much money you take in and how much money you spend. Then, list your "fixed" expenses — those that are the same each month — like mortgage payments or rent, car payments, and insurance premiums.