Post-College Credit Card Debt? Consider Credit Counseling
Today’s college students face a world of uncertainties upon graduation. Finding a job and a place to live can make it difficult when trying to make a new start. And now, more than ever, college graduates are also faced with mountains of credit card debt, creating additional financial problems for 20-somethings just starting out in the world.
From Broke to Spending With Deferred Consequences
Credit card companies are notorious for awarding college students credit lines well above their means. It is not uncommon for a full-time college student to receive a $10,000 – $15,000 line of credit, even without a job or any regular income.
Credit cards make careless, reckless spending incredibly tempting – and incredibly easy – for college students. They can go from broke one day to having $10,000 to spend the next. Dinners, clothing, book, gas and beer don’t seem quite so expensive when they are paid for with a simple swipe of plastic. In addition to large balances, students are also faced with extremely high interest rates as they rack up balances and missed payments. And although students may be fully aware of the fact that they have signed a contract and do need to pay their debt, it is easy to fall into the trap of rationalizing paying for their expenses with plastic. Thoughts like “As long as I keep paying the minimum,” or, “I’ll pay it off when I have a steady income” offer comfort and justification. Meanwhile, severe damage is being done to credit scores, and by the time graduation rolls around, both balances and interest rates can reach epic proportions.
Help is Available
So what can be done if you or someone you know is faced with post-college credit card debt? Non-profit credit card counseling services offer a variety of services for individuals looking for ways to manage their credit card debt. Through a credit card counseling program, trained counselors will work with you to assess your situation and come up with a plan tailored specifically for you and your needs. Together, you will look at how much money you owe your creditors compared to how much income you have available to you. Your counselor can help you come up with several options depending on your situation, such as setting and maintaining a monthly budget to help you pay down your debt and get on your feet financially.
When choosing a credit card counseling program, be sure to look for a reputable non-profit agency. Unlike a for-profit agency whose aim is to turn a profit at your expense, a non-profit agency has your best interests mind.
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