Experts: Know when to ask for help

Spiraling into credit card debt is a slow process. And for this reason, many borrowers may not be aware how deeply in debt they are until they begin having difficulties making their payments or find that they are only able to make the minimum payment. In addition, some consumers may think that willpower alone can help them dig themselves out from under debt. But experts say that sometimes it takes more than willpower, and encourage individuals to seek out professional financial help, according to the New York Times.

Carl Richards, certified financial planner and money columnist for the Times, notes that even though most Americans know the steps they need to take to get out of debt, organizing payments, sticking to a budget and disciplining spending can be challenging initially. However, there are several steps borrowers can take to rid themselves of their balances and correct behaviors that may be contributing to their debt.

For example, consumers who establish a budget may benefit from automating monthly payments and savings to avoid the temptation to spend. Setting aside funds for credit card payments – those with the highest interest rates should be prioritized – and automating them can help adults stay on track when it comes to paying down their debt. In some cases, borrowers may receive an interest break for automating certain payments. In addition, relying on tools, such as debt calculators, can help adults set up a repayment plan that details how much they must put toward their bills to pay off their balances within a specified period of time.

These strategies are the first step in tackling high balances, but in some cases, seeking out the help of a credit counseling service or advisor is also a beneficial move. For example, individuals may know they are in too deep when they are being forced to neglect certain bills in order to pay off others. Credit counseling services can help borrowers explore debt management plans that suit their particular circumstances and put an individualized plan into motion. In addition, consumers who are forced to rely on credit card spending because their income does not cover their needs may be living beyond their means and might benefit from working with a professional to establish a budget.