When Life Happens: What to Do When Life Throws You Curveballs

Let’s set a scenario: You’re going about your life and, for once, everything seems to be going smoothly. You’re doing well at work, your finances are under control, you’re generally healthy and content with the family and friends you have. Then suddenly, something unexpected and devastating happens. Maybe you lose your job, maybe an expensive medical emergency occurs for you or a loved one. And slowly, everything seems to hit you all at once and you feel like you have lost control.

Perhaps this was an exaggeration, but sometimes life throws you curveballs out of nowhere, many of which are out of your hands. Often, these major life events such as sudden job loss, medical emergencies or the death of a loved one can cause a lot of emotional stress. In addition, these moments might even cause prolonged financial hardships.

However, there are some concrete steps you can take to ensure you handle the curveballs and problems that life throws at you (though this might seem easier said than done). Nationwide Debt Reduction Services has some things you can do to fight back when life happens.

 

  1. Take the Time You Need

Before you do anything, give yourself time to process the situation that you are in. It is completely okay and necessary to take a break, to take time to step back and think about what you are going through. Often, people might push you to think of next steps, to “move on” past a problem, but it is best to ignore them and think of what YOU need in that moment. Taking care of yourself should always be a priority.

 

  1. Ask for Help

In a time of confusion and stress, it can be very difficult to reach out to someone for help. However, it is necessary. Take the first step to reach out to someone close to you who can recommend resources that can help you. Taking action, no matter how small, can help you in the long run. In addition, you should seek out support from professionals or reliable organizations that can help you. Here are some specific ways you can get help and support:

  • Unemployment Benefits, Health Insurance, Training Programs

If you are dealing with job loss, the first thing you will need to consider is filing for unemployment. Check your state’s requirements for unemployment eligibility and learn how to apply for unemployment. In Texas, to qualify for unemployment benefits, you will need to have worked in Texas during the past 12-18 months, have at least a minimum amount of wages that fall within Texas guidelines and must looking for work each week you request benefits.

In addition, if your previous job offered a health benefits package, you will need to consider your health insurance options following the job loss. Get in touch with your former employer’s human resources department and ask them about health insurance options. In addition, understand your rights under COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), which is a law written to continue group health benefits for certain employees who deal with major life events such as job loss, reduction in hours, divorce etc.

Lastly, think of taking up free classes, training programs or workshops that can help create new skills. Start by looking at the Department of Labor’s and American Job Center’s training programs. In addition, look into your nearest community college and see if there are affordable courses you can take or workshops you can attend!

  • Support Groups, Therapy, Healthy Investments

Leaning on friends and loved ones for support during a difficult time can be good but seeking professional help or support groups are also great options. Seek out therapists near you and consider the qualities that you think might make a good therapist. Ask for a free phone consultation to gauge whether you want to go with the therapist or not and be honest about any financial concerns you have, because it is important to consider affordability. Making healthy investments, for your physical and mental health, can have a positive impact long-term.

  • Professionals Can Help with Financial Troubles Too

You don’t have to bear financial burdens yourself, no matter what has caused them. If you find your financial troubles increasingly overwhelming, there is no harm in reaching out to professionals who can help you understand credit, debt, bankruptcy etc.

 

  1. How Long Will Your Financial Resources Last?

If you have lost your job or a stream of income, evaluate how long your current financial resources will last. If you can, try not to deplete your savings or increase your debt. Do your best to create a budget plan that ensures the resources you have last longer. Here are some ways you can try saving up:

  • Limit Eating Out

Eating out, even if it’s a $5 coffee adds up quickly. Limit your expenses on eating out and cook at home instead. It is healthier too!

  • Limit Subscriptions

If there are some unused subscriptions that are eating away at your wallet, get rid of them. Make sure anything you are subscribed to is something you use.

  • Don’t Pay for Apps

Don’t pay for any smartphone apps. They are usually not worth it.

  • Go to Thrift Stores

You might have to sift through a few more racks, but shopping at thrift stores is cheaper than buying new clothes—it is also more environmentally responsible. Try some well-known thrift stores such as Buffalo Exchange, Upscale Cheapskate and Plato’s Closet.

 

  1. Don’t Blame Yourself—Come Up with Strategies Instead

Often life throws us curveballs that we aren’t responsible for. They are not caused by our doing, they don’t occur because it is our fault. They happen because unfortunately, that is the way life operates. Don’t get stuck in blaming yourself as that can be a step backward—instead, focus on how you can feel better and how you can make it through each day. There are some effective strategies and mechanisms you can come up with to fight your battles daily:

  • To-Do List

Whether it’s a messy list on a piece of paper or detailed planner, a to-do list is a great way to prioritize tasks, manage your time and maintain a productive and healthy day. There are few things as satisfying as crossing a task off a to-do list.

  • Take Breaks

If you’re having a particularly nasty day full of tough situations, you might get overwhelmed quickly. Try to take breaks often to ensure you get the “me time” you deserve. Your break can include watching an episode of your favorite show, talking to a loved one, spending time with a pet, going outside or going to the gym. Just make sure that even for just an hour a day, you get to do what you love.

  • Have a Back Up Plan

Life does not stop with one unexpected curveball—it throws a couple sporadically or at the same time. Having a back up plan or an emergency plan in place can lessen the blow of an unexpected problem. For example, if you make the decision to start saving up diligently or create a rainy-day fund, you can have a better cushion when dealing with financial troubles.

Call NDRS When Life Happens!

You don’t have to go through life’s difficulties alone—get in touch with Nationwide Debt Reduction Services for help when dealing with bankruptcy, settling your debt and other financial troubles that might be worrying you. For more information, check out this guide on how NDRS can help you in making the payments you need to, starting with a free debt consultation. To get started, call us today at 888-987-1325 or send us a message on our website!

 

 

 

 

How Debt Can Haunt You and Your Loved Ones - National Debt Reduction Services

How Debt Can Haunt You and Your Loved Ones

Halloween is right around the corner, but many Americans aren’t afraid of the dead. It’s debt they’re worried about.

Disquieting debt can loom over you like a black cloud, ready to rain down at any moment, with no sign of a kindly ray of sunshine. It makes strong people tremble with fear. There’s no doubt about it — debt is a scary!

In a recent survey, 30% of Americans say that they are constantly stressed out about money. 85% say they are sometimes stressed out about money. And 61% say that they live paycheck to paycheck (CNBC).

Throughout the day and night, Americans are haunted by debt demons. One event, such as a car crash, job loss, or medical emergency could throw you into financial chaos.

And what if you die? What happens to your debt? Your financial fears could end up haunting your loved ones.

How Debt Haunts Your Credit Score

How Debt Can Haunt You and Your Loved Ones - How Debt Haunts Your Credit Score

The decisions you make today may haunt you tomorrow. That $300 pair of sunglasses you put on your credit card? It could stay with you for a long time.

Your credit score is a number from 300 to 850 that represents a person’s creditworthiness. It is based on many factors, but over half of your score is based on whether you’ve paid your bills on time and how much debt you have.

The longer you have outstanding debt, the worse your credit score gets. Your credit score takes all of your debts into account and how many different accounts you have.

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), the amount of debt you have accounts for 30% of your credit score. 35% of your credit score is based on payment history. Long after you pay off your debt, the ghosts of debt past will continue to haunt your credit score.

The Horrors of Debt Collection

How Debt Can Haunt You and Your Loved Ones - Horrors of Debt Collectors

There are thousands of debt collectors in the United States and they can be terrifying and stress inducing. While there are laws that help prevent harassment, debt collectors may not follow all of the rules. It’s not uncommon for debt collection agencies to haunt consumers every day with constant phone calls. Additionally, debt collection accounts can really harm your credit score. That’s a double haunting!

If you don’t want to live in fear of every phone call, speak with the professionals at National Debt Reduction Services to chase away those ghastly deb collection agencies.

And don’t fall for fake debt collectors that may try to get you to pay for “phantom debts” that you don’t owe. They may try to scare you with threats of lawsuits, imprisonment, or having your bank account closed. Ask for all of their information, including name, company, address, and telephone number. If they can’t provide that information, they are most likely a fake. Don’t give them any information and don’t pay them anything! They could be attempting to commit identity theft, which could haunt you for the rest of your life. Contact NDRS if you are being hounded by debt collection agencies.

Debt After Death

What happens to your debt when you die? This may be the scariest aspect of debt. You want to leave your family with dignity and support, not a mountain of debt that will weigh them down for years after your passing. While there are many laws concerning debt fter death, sometimes the debt ends up transferring over to co-signers, spouses, children, and family members.

Protect Yourself From Debt Demons

If you don’t want debt haunting you, protect yourself with these financial forewarnings:

Don’t cosign a loan

While it may be tempting, never take on someone else’s debt by cosigning a loan for them. You are promising to pay off their debt if they are unable to. And if they need a cosigner, they are considered a high-risk applicant — someone the lender doesn’t trust to pay back the loan on their own.

Cosigning a loan is a huge risk for you and the lender may end up suing you first if payments are not made. Not only are you risking your money, but you’re also risking your time, credit score, and relationship. Cosigning a loan has ruined more friendships and families than you can imagine. And we’ve personally seen many people file for bankruptcy due to cosigning a loan. Just don’t do it.

Never add someone else’s debt to your credit card

Again, don’t let good intentions ruin your financial life. It’s never a good idea to add someone else’s debt to your credit card, even if you have a lower APR and just want to help. Their debt immediately becomes your debt and you’ll have to answer for it. Not only that, your credit score will be negatively affected as well.

Don’t lend money to financially irresponsible people

How Debt Can Haunt You and Your Loved Ones - Don't Lend Money or Cosign a Loan

We’ve all lent money to someone, but make sure you test the waters first by loaning a small amount and seeing if they pay you back. A written statement saying how and when they plan on paying you back should accompany the loan. Generally speaking though, it’s not a good idea to lend money to friends or family. It’s one of the most common ways that relationships sour.

For many people, however, debt is already a source of fear and terror. If debt is haunting you, it’s time to take action.

Release the Debt Ghosts of the Past 

We’ve emphasized how scary debt can be — it’s Halloween season after all — but things aren’t as bad as they may seem. At least not when you have a team of debt specialists on your side.

You’re not alone. Don’t let debt haunt you for the rest of your life and then follow you to the grave. The best way to make sure you outlive your debt is by speaking with the certified debt specialists at National Debt Reduction Services.

Learn more about your options for getting out of debt. By making better decisions today, you can help ensure your survival tomorrow.

Contact NDRS today to slay those debt demons that continue to haunt you and your family. Call us at (888) 987-1325 for your free debt relief consultation.

7 Common Causes of Debt

common causes of debt

For a lot of Americans, few things instill as much dread as a mountain of debt. It’s hard enough to go about our daily lives with regular expenses along the way. But when a portion of every paycheck gets wiped out thanks to a ton of debt that never seems to go away, it can be disheartening.

Debt can come from one specific source, but it can also rapidly grow as a result of unexpected bills coming together at the most inopportune time. One of the best tools you can arm yourself with is the knowledge to avoid debt in the first place – and here at National Debt Reduction Services, we want to help however we can. In addition to providing debt relief services, we’ve put together a list of 6 common causes of debt to help you alert and informed.

Medical Emergency

Odds are, you or someone you know has encountered an unexpected medical situation that ended up being much more costly than anticipated. Medical expenses come out of nowhere, and they add up quickly. According to a study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 1 out of every 4 adults aged 18-64 either knows someone who has had trouble paying a medical bill in the past year, or has had difficulty themselves.

Unfortunately, given the sudden nature of some medical conditions, it’s not always possible to prevent this. A sizable number of Americans have trouble paying medical bills, and that percentage is skewed higher toward families with lower incomes. However, according to the same study, two-thirds of the group who reported having problems paying medical bills were encountering issues due to sudden, one-time bills.

It’s important to try and stash away some money in a rainy-day fund, even if it’s just a little bit at a time. It’s likely that you will experience an unexpected medial expense at some point, and even a small amount of extra help can go a long way.

Problems with Insurance Coverage

This second item applies to medical emergencies as well, but we all have insurance for things beyond just our health. Insurance companies are notoriously difficult to deal with – whether it’s an automobile coverage issue, something involving your home, or another type of insurance – the expenses you can incur from insurance declining to cover your incident can be astronomical.

Sometimes the resulting complications from whatever you tried to get insurance to cover need to be immediately addressed and you can’t wait around to solve them. When that happens, people have to dig deep into savings and pay out of pocket to repair or restore whatever problem has arisen, and this often leaves them in a deep hole to dig out of.

Failed Business

Every business doesn’t succeed, unfortunately. While some take off and take their industry by storm, others struggle to get the wheels moving and eventually fizzle out. Part of the risk of starting a business is committing the money toward getting it off the ground, and even if the owner has the savvy and know-how to run the business efficiently, there’s still a chance that it doesn’t resonate with the intended consumers.

If you’re starting a business and take out a loan from a bank, be sure you know the terms in full beforehand. Know that you might be on the hook for the money regardless of whether the business succeeds or not, and be prepared to pay it back.

Student Loans/Educational Debt

Another aspect of modern life that a lot of people are accustomed to is the practice of taking out loans to pay for college. According to Nitrocollege.com, 1 in 4 Americans have some sort of student loan debt, which adds up to nearly 45 million people. It’s an unfortunate necessity for many, however, since the modern job market is geared toward people who have a degree. Some employers won’t even take a second glance at a resume unless there is a degree listed!

But that expectation means that a great deal of Americans are forced to take out student loans to pay for school. According to the same statistics from Nitrocollege, the average graduate has just over $37,000 in student loan debt with a monthly payment of close to $400. That amount of debt weighs on you, and it can take decades to pay off completely.

Sudden Loss of Income

One unexpected cause of debt is due to something that you truly can’t plan for. While you might be able to prepare for student loans or certain medical conditions, it’s not easy to compensate for a loss of income. Whether it’s because you’ve lost your job or had a steady income stream suddenly dry up another way, losing your source of money is difficult no matter what.

While it’s difficult to bridge the loss-of-income gap smoothly, you can do your part to ease the hit in the event it does happen. Bankrate.com conducted a survey in January of 2019, asking how people would hypothetically pay for a sudden $1,000 expense, such as a car repair. Only 40% said they’d be able to use their savings – 3/5 of respondents wouldn’t be able to cover it immediately.

That’s a sobering statistic. With how many people are living paycheck-to-paycheck currently, one emergency – including loss of income – could be devastating.

Excessive Spending

We’d all prefer to think of ourselves as pretty responsible spenders. Most of us can usually come up with a reason to justify why we buy certain things for one reason or another, even if it only makes sense to us. Without a check on our spending, we can easily end up drowning in debt before we know it.

Whether it’s through racking up interest on credit cards or simply the urge to buy something in the heat of the moment, overspending can drown you quickly, which makes excessive spending one of the most common causes of debt.

However, sometimes spending isn’t a problem because of a self-control issue. Sometimes it’s because of an expected financial windfall that simply doesn’t happen. Tax returns that are smaller than you expected, lighter bonuses at work or a lesser gift than you’re accustomed to are all common reasons for accidental overspending – but you still end up in debt. Evaluating your spending habits is critical, and it will be truly beneficial in the long run.

Issues with Shared Accounts

If you have a joint account with a spouse or significant other, it’s imperative that you both establish expectations for what the account will be used for, and what the limits are on spending.

The worst thing that can happen is for one (or both) of you to use the account as if it were solely your own. Withdrawing funds without any culpability to the other person can create several issues – including an overdrawn account.

When you’re not on the same page, not only will the finances suffer, but your relationship could strain as well. If the account is supposed to be used for emergencies only and one of you spends from it every day, you could end up in debt. A car accident or medical emergency could wipe out that joint account – in addition to compromising your relationship!

Don’t Let Debt Sneak Up on You!

Debt can rear its ugly head in any number of ways. Whether it’s through a sudden medical emergency or a long-term strategy that suddenly gets thrown out the window, debt doesn’t discriminate. It treats all of us equally, and the effects it can have on you and your family can take decades to shake off and get out from under.

But you’re not powerless! Although debt exists, you have the tools and resources to fight it. The best decision you can make is to take steps to prepare for a financial emergency before it occurs. That means avoiding the classic pitfalls that most people fall into with spending – general financial responsibility will go a long way, but that obviously doesn’t cover all causes of debt. In addition, it’s good to put a percentage of every paycheck in the bank every payday. An emergency fund goes a long way!

Sometimes even the best-laid plans can’t help when an unexpected financial debt is incurred.

That’s where we come in. National Debt Reduction Services has a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping people eliminate debt, and we can help you too! Call today for a free, no-obligation debt review from our debt resolution experts, and see how we can get you started on the path to being free of debt today!