There is Help for Seniors in Debt

Young and middle-aged people aren’t the only ones facing financial problems. Senior citizens suffer from financial dilemmas, such as debt, for a myriad of reasons, including a crumbling economy, dwindling savings, rising medical costs, credit card debt and fraud.

The recent downturn of the American economy has been especially tough on seniors who survive on fixed incomes. With their savings rapidly disappearing and their monthly social security checks not able to cover their bills, many turn to credit cards to pay off the balance. Add medical costs to the equation and it becomes a hopeless situation. And to make matters worse, if that’s possible, scam artists prey on these seniors because they are desperate and eager to trust someone who offers assistance.

However, there are solutions. One is a debt management program. This option is provided by credit counseling agencies that offer assistance through counseling sessions. During these sessions people discuss their money in detail so the counselor can get an idea of what debt management program is best for them. Once the financials are sorted out, the counselor contacts the person’s creditors to negotiate new monthly payment terms.

The goal is to establish one monthly payment, meaning all various credit card bills are combined. This reduces paperwork and eliminates the hassle of paying off numerous bills each month, which can be confusing for anyone trying to organize their finances, especially when they are under stress. Another benefit of contacting an established and reputable credit counseling agency is the focused structure of the debt management program. All programs are personalized to fit each person’s needs and they can usually offer reduced monthly payments, fees, and interest rates.

Seniors should educate themselves on legitimate businesses that offer debt management programs and counseling. These businesses can assist them in organizing their finances and reducing or even eliminating their debt within three to five years, depending on how much is owed. It’s certainly an inviting alternative to bankruptcy or other financial catastrophes.

Precautions should be taken though, before hiring any company that advertises debt management programs or similar plans. Fraud is on the rise and seniors that don’t understand the business, or don’t have anyone, such as a family member or trusted friend to assist them in investigating a variety of companies, could be in jeopardy. One thing that anyone, a senior or a college grad, should remember is if the promises the advertised by the company sound too good, then they probably are. It’s simply a trap to bleed them of what money they have left.

The financial world can be a brutal place but it’s not impossible to find help. Seniors just need to be extra cautious and, if possible, find an ally to aid them in navigating through the ever-changing scams that pop up in our society. There are companies that are legitimate and are more than happy to assist seniors in getting out of debt. It’s just a matter of doing the research and finding the right people.

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April Lewis-Parks
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