Beyond Our Means

Let’s face it – we Americans have spent too much money and lived beyond our means.

Now it’s crunch time – Wall Street doesn’t look good. Homes are in foreclosure all over the country (but wait – the government might just bail you out!). Banks – even historic institutions – are holding fire sales. Everybody’s holding onto their hats and hoping for the best.

Even if the government bails out the banks, the average consumer is going to feel the pinch. A large part of the pinch comes because the banks over-extended credit to people. Now they’re paying compounded interest on debt they shouldn’t have taken on to begin with. My prediction? A bunch of bankruptcies are about to be filed. But it shouldn’t be so.

There’s no “easy” way out… but there are some things you can do to protect your credit AND meet your obligations. There are experts who can help you – like Consumer Credit Counseling – and a variety of ways that you can consolidate debt in a loan that reduces your interest rate and payments, enter into a structured payment plan (some of which suspend interest accrual), and even settle the debts for less than you actually owe (which should be a last resort).

There’s a very helpful website from Bills.com that offers bountiful information on debt, repayment options, maintaining good credit, and much more. There’s GREAT info about budgeting. There’s even a debt boot camp! It’s good information for every consumer to know… especially now.