Credit counseling could help

Q: I am a retired marine. Our credit cards debt is about $30,000. We have some sav­ings in mutual funds and retire­ment accounts. What would be the best way to get rid of our credit card debt? We have thought about get­ting a per­sonal loan, debt con­sol­i­da­tion, going through a debt relief agency but we’re not sure what to do. Please help. Thank you.

–Joseph, New Port Richey, Florida

A: There are times when we can all ben­e­fit from some hands-on guid­ance. In my mind, you’re at a point where sit­ting down with a coun­selor and map­ping out a strat­egy to get and stay out of debt would be very ben­e­fi­cial. For that type of help, con­sider con­nect­ing with a coun­selor affil­i­ated with the National Foun­da­tion for Credit Coun­sel­ing (www​.nfcc​.org). You can call them at 800–388-2227 to find an agency near you. They will help you get your finan­cial house in order and have a num­ber of valu­able tools at their dis­posal, includ­ing a Debt Man­age­ment Plan.

The key to get­ting to a bet­ter place will be cre­at­ing a sit­u­a­tion in which you  spend less than is com­ing in each month. It will def­i­nitely take hard work, atten­tion to detail, and a seri­ous com­mit­ment, but in the end you’ll be a much more sustainable—and less stressful—place. Good luck!

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Examples given are hypothetical illustrations and not an indication of the benefits or features of any USAA product. You should seek policies and advice based upon your own particular circumstances. Sample loans are for illustration purposes only and are not a rate quote, pre-approval, or commitment to lend.

Scott Halliwell and JJ Montanaro are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners with USAA Financial Planning Services, one of the USAA family of companies. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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