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Student loan deferment vs. forbearance: What's the difference?

Making student loan payments isn’t always easy. And it becomes extra challenging if your income drops, you decide to go back to school, or you’re experiencing a health issue. Student loans offer two somewhat unique options — deferment and forbearance — to get you through times when making your payments becomes…

What are personal loans and how do they work?

Need to renovate your home, pay for a medical procedure, or consolidate credit card debt? Then you might be in the market for personal loans, which are consumer loans mainly given out by banks, credit unions and online lenders. Most of these loans are unsecured, meaning you don’t need collateral,…

Should I use a personal loan to pay off my credit card debt?

One of the biggest drawbacks to credit card debt is how expensive it can be. If you don’t pay off your balance month to month, you’ll wind up paying interest, which can quickly add up considering the average credit card APR is 17.27%. If you have a lot of high-interest…

What is a personal loan forbearance and is it a good idea?

When people talk about loan forbearance or deferment, often they’re talking about student loans. But forbearance — where a lender agrees to temporarily reduce your loan payments or even allow you to stop making payments altogether — is an option for some personal loans, too. For people who have fallen…

Can debt collectors take my house?

Legally, it’s true that debt collectors could get a judgment in court that would force you to sell your home to repay a delinquent debt. In practice, however, this rarely ever happens.  That’s because forcing you into an involuntary foreclosure is costly and time-consuming, says debt relief expert and Resolve…

What is a reverse mortgage & is it a good idea?

For many people, the biggest asset they own is their home. But the only time that asset’s value is actually usable is when they sell their home or borrow against their equity. One example of the latter is a reverse mortgage. Despite its name, a reverse mortgage is actually a…

How can I get a personal loan if my credit is bad?

Consolidating credit card debt? Renovating your home? If you need more financial flexibility or a fast influx of cash, you may want to consider taking out a personal loan. Personal loans are often considered “good debt,” because they generally come with lower interest rates than credit cards. However, how fast…

How to deal with credit cards and other debts during the coronavirus crisis

I’ve been helping people triage problem debt full time since 1999. Over that period of time, there’s little I haven’t seen happen to blow up someone’s personal finances. Then comes a global pandemic. And this crisis is unlike anything we’ve seen before. This is uncharted territory for all of us.…

Federal student loan relief: what you need to know

For the 44 million Americans with federal student loans, there’s a bit of welcome news. On March 20, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the office of Federal Student Aid is providing student loan relief to its borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency. Breaking down the announcement, the…

The pros & cons of secured and unsecured personal loans

If you need more financial flexibility, you might be thinking about taking out a personal loan. But with so many types of personal loans available, it can be tough to tell which will best fit your needs — and your budget. How you plan to use the money, how long…

Is it possible to lower your credit card interest rates?

Believe it or not, you can call your credit card company and ask them to lower the interest rate on your card. Even more surprising? They might actually do it. A CreditCards.com survey found that of the 19% of people surveyed who asked for lower interest rates, 69% were successful.…

I’m underwater on my house: What does that mean and what are my options?

Swings in the housing market can translate to windfall profits — or devastating losses. And it’s difficult to predict which way the wind will blow. If you do find yourself underwater on your house, here’s what it means and what your options are. What does it mean to be underwater?…

Visa vs. Mastercard: What’s the difference and how do I choose?

Crack open your wallet and pull out your credit cards. We bet there’s a very good chance at least one of them is a Visa or Mastercard. Here’s the difference between them and how to choose the right credit card for you. Visa and Mastercard: What they have in common Of…

Here’s the average credit card debt in every state

Credit card debt in the United States is on the rise: It hit $830 billion in the second quarter of 2019, according to Experian. Credit cards are also becoming an increasingly popular form of payment — 60.5% of U.S. adults own a credit card, up 11% from the same time…

Here's how one family paid off $109,000 in credit card debt

For Brian Brandow, carrying credit card debt was normal. He thought it was simply what people did. After all, everyone he knew had some credit card debt, so how could it be so bad? But this mentality led to chronic overspending — for years.  Here’s the story of the Brandows…

What are credit card hardship programs and how do I know if I’m eligible?

Financial issues happen to the best of us. Even if you’ve never missed a credit card payment before, you might fall behind if you lose your job, get sick or have a big expense pop up. A few missed payments can quickly bring headaches when the late fees and higher…

Feeling trapped by a debt relief provider? Here’s what to do

Debt relief can sound incredibly positive when you’re finances are underwater and you can’t see your way to paying off your debt. Sometimes it can be so appealing, in fact, you wind up working with a company that doesn’t have your best interests in mind. If you’ve signed on for…

6 ways to dig yourself out of holiday debt

The holidays are done, the gifts have been unwrapped and all you’re left with in the new year is a big fat credit card bill. From gifts to holiday parties to flights to family, it’s easy to spend more than you were anticipating in the span of a few short…

6 ways to prevent holiday debt

Because holiday gifts aren’t always a line item in a budget, it’s easy to see why last-minute purchases can end up on a credit card. And while it’s tempting, it’s best if you can avoid doing this at all costs (unless you can pay off the balance in full). Here…

What is the snowball method of paying off debt?

There’s something very satisfying about crossing off items on your to-do list. The snowball method of paying off debt benefits from this bit of human psyche. Here’s how it works and how to know if it’s the right method for you. What is the snowball method? The debt snowball method…

States where people have the most & least student loan debt

In 2019, student loan debt in the United States hit $1.6 trillion, the highest it’s ever been, according to data compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. But that debt doesn’t affect all borrowers equally. While 34% of adults ages 18 to 29 have student loan debt, according…

Is your debt time-barred? A state-by-state guide to debt statutes of limitations

Hearing from a debt collector can understandably make you feel very uneasy. That’s especially true if it’s about an old debt. Maybe you thought the debt was long forgotten or it had already been paid. Maybe you’re not even sure the debt is yours. But even if it is is,…

Can being an authorized user on someone else’s credit card help build your credit?

Building up good credit can be a daunting task, especially if unfortunate circumstances have brought your credit score down. But luckily there are a variety of things you can do to push your credit back into the green. One of them is becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit…

Debt avalanche vs. debt snowball: Here's what you need to know

If paying down debt is in your financial forecast, there are two techniques you might want to consider: debt snowball and debt avalanche. These similar methods are a good fit if you can afford to make the minimum payments on all of your debt, plus a little extra.  If done…

What the national debt means for your children (and your children's children)

When you turn on the TV or pick up your phone, it sometimes seems like the old axiom “no news is good news” has taken on a new meaning. Gun violence, climate change, inadequate or overly expensive health care, are just a few of the heavy topics making headlines and…

Frequently Asked Questions

Is debt management the same as debt consolidation?

Nope. Debt management usually involves working with a credit counseling…

How does a DMP work?

In order to begin a DMP, you will need to…

What are the benefits of a DMP?

On average, your interests rates for both credit cards and…
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