Credit cards are a crucial part of establishing credit history and making necessary large purchases. However, the immediate gratification of shopping using credit cards and the reward programs they offer make it easy to spend more than you intended to or even realize. Your bill may include interest charges and late fees that outweigh the deals and cash back you received when you made the purchase. Your accrued debt may be a great source of embarrassment. The good news is you’re not alone and there is a way out.
The stigma of credit card debt
If you asked people what measurable information about themselves causes them the most embarrassment, you may expect to hear answers such as weight, age or bank account balance. The surprising truth is that those answers ranked much lower than credit card debt and credit score in a 2014 poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Fear of judgment from admitting those numbers only worsens the shame. Americans view a high outstanding balance as bad debt and one that should be among the easiest to avoid and manage. A NerdWallet survey revealed that more than half of Southerners are embarrassed to share how much they owe in credit card debt.
How to end the embarrassment and debt
If your debt is not completely out of control, you may be able to pay it off on your own over time. Stop charging immediately, switch to debit or cash and start paying off the card with the highest APR first. You will need to stick to a strict budget as you continue paying off the remaining cards.
If you have accumulated massive debt you can’t pay off, you may need to file for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates all your debt without you having to pay any of it. To qualify in Florida, your income has to be below the state median. Even if it is not, however, you may still be eligible after deducting certain expenses. Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires you to pay some of the debt through an affordable monthly amount with no interest. Both options will end creditor harassment.
Let an attorney help you
Navigating the bankruptcy process can be daunting. Without experience, you may lose more money or assets than you have to. The wiser choice is to hire a bankruptcy attorney to help you file. Shed the embarrassment of your credit card debt and start the process of getting your financial situation under control with a Florida debt relief lawyer.