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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

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

Q. We are struggling to make our house payment and are now past due. We also have credit card debt and medical bills. It feels like we are sinking. There are so many different companies advertising various kinds of help that I’m not sure where to go. Any suggestions? 

A. There are a number of companies that offer help, but many have restrictions on the types of debt they will help with.  Unfortunately, I see individuals go to one company for mortgage help, another company for help with credit cards, and still another company for help with all their other debts.  This is not a good solution.  For your finances to improve you need a cohesive plan that addresses all of your financial issues.  When you go to a variety of companies to handle different parts of your debts you do not have a coordinated plan that works.  It is likely you will end up paying too much in fees for services.  In addition, you may find that the progress you make is one area is offset by setbacks in other areas.   

Not all companies that assist with mortgage delinquencies and debts are reputable.  It is important that you do your research.  Find the company’s Better Business Bureau rating.  Check to see if there are complaints against the company.  When it comes to your money, you are often better off working with a local established company with a good reputation.

You need solutions that address your housing situation and all your debts.  Look for a HUD approved housing counseling agency.  Most sessions will start with a no or low cost budget counseling.  The counselor needs know what your income, expenses, and debts are in order to help you review all the options available to you.  Everyone’s situation is different.  People owe different debts, are at different stages of delinquencies, have different incomes, and have different needs and household expenses.  It is important that the organization you work with has counselors trained in mortgage delinquency options. 

A counselor will help create a budget that will work for you now and in the long term.  They will develop an action plan that address any mortgage delinquencies and all your debt, not just part of it. 

Before things get any worse I suggest that you make an appointment with a HUD approved housing counseling agency.  It is important that you address all your debts and find the best options to improve your entire financial situation. 

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.