American Center for Credit Education
ACCE Home News About Us Contact Us For Businesses
Recent Updates

Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

What you need to know about the IRS and collection agencies

Will being turned down for a store credit card hurt my credit?

Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Q. We have experienced a number of difficult circumstances over the past year. As a result, we've fallen behind on our house payment. We kept expecting things to get better, but this hasn't happened. What's the best way for us to handle our shortfall?

A. While it’s unfortunate that you have had trouble paying your mortgage this year, you do not want to let this situation go unattended any longer. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approves housing counseling agencies across the country. A HUD-approved housing counseling agency has counselors that are specially trained in housing and that can advise you on your options. In most cases, counseling is provided at no cost to you and can be provided in-person, by phone or online. Since we are talking about something as important as your home, I’m a proponent of in-person counseling, if possible.

In order to help you, a housing counselor will need to know who your mortgage lender and servicer is, if this is different than your lender. They will need to know how far past due you are and what correspondence or conversations you have had with your lender up to this point. In order to offer you options that are workable for your financial situation, your counselor will ask detailed information about your income, assets, debts and budget. After completing an analysis, the housing counselor will provide you with your best options. You will need to take action based on these options.

You need to be aware that if you take no action, you can lose your home. If you no longer want your home, you are far better off selling it rather than doing nothing.

When a home is at stake, some people become frozen with fear and don’t take action. Don’t let this happen to you. The results can be tragic. Recently, a family was advised that their best option was to sell their home.  Instead, they took no action and their house was foreclosed on and went up for auction. They lost $75,000 worth of equity in their home that they could have recouped if they’d sold it. No one can afford to lose that kind of money.

I have seen people refuse to take action, believing that they’ll be rescued through some miracle. The problem with miracles is we often don’t recognize them because we believe they come only in the form we’re seeking.  The miracle may actually be the advice that helps you resolve your own problem.

Given that you are behind on your mortgage and things haven’t gotten any better, your best option is to seek help from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. Don’t delay.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.