The Norman Transcript

Features

July 9, 2013

Debt counseling can help seniors with financial problems

NORMAN — Dear Savvy Senior, What resources can you recommend to help seniors with financial problems? I hate to admit it, but I’ve fallen behind on my house payments and have accumulated quite a bit of credit card debt over the past few years. Where can we get help?

— Indebt at 70

 

Dear Indebt,

There are actually a number of free and low-cost resources available today that can help seniors who are struggling with credit card and/or mortgage debt. Here’s where you can turn to for help.

 

Credit counseling: To help you get a handle on your credit card debt, a good place to start is at a credit-counseling agency. These are nonprofit agencies that offer free financial education and advice on how to handle financial problems.

And if your debt is significant, they can set you up in a debt-management plan (DMP) that allows a counselor to negotiate with your creditors to lower your interest rates and eliminate any late fees and other penalties.

The agency will then act as a consolidator, grouping your debts together into one payment that you would make, and distributes those funds to your creditors. Most agencies charge a one-time $30 set-up fee and a monthly maintenance fee of around $20 for a DMP.

To locate a credible agency in your area, use the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website at debtadvice.org or call 800-388-2227. 

Do not use a for-profit debt settlement company that claims to settle all your debt, or cut it in half for a fee without counseling. Most of these companies use deceptive practices and will only leave you more in debt then you already are.

Foreclosure help: If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments, or if you have already received a letter or phone call about missed payments, you should contact your lender immediately to explain your situation and see if you can work out a payment plan. Be prepared to provide your financial information, such as your monthly income and expenses.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Crafter’s emporium planned Saturday

    Members of the Opal District Crafter’s Emporium, plus other local artists, will have an art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St. in Norman. It will be hosted concurrently with the ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Williams book signing event set

    Jared Williams, a resident of Moore, will sign copies of his book “Cerebral” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings, 2300 W. Main St. Norman....

    July 31, 2014

  • Home dedication set Sunday

    Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity will host a dedication of the Ruvalcaba family home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 618 E. Apache St. Those attending are asked to bring a pantry item to help the family begin life in their new home. ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Two territorial littermate cats are asserting social dominance

    Dear Dr. Fox: When we decided to get a cat 10 years ago, I thought getting a couple of littermates would work well. They got along during the first couple of years, often sleeping together and grooming each other. As they matured, though, ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Board welcomes new member

    In its June meeting, the members of the Mary Abbott Children’s House board of directors elected Barbara Henderson to serve the remaining term of Anne Ederington, who resigned from the board in May due to moving from Norman. Henderson and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Pancake breakfast set

    The Police Explorer youth organization will host an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Norman Masonic Lodge, 1700 N. Porter Ave. All-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, milk, orange juice and coffee costs $5. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Center will be more than a building

    Many volunteers who assist veterans and surviving spouses have driven more than an hour to be at the Goldsby Community Center by 7 a.m. each Thursday. The volunteer of the week is from Harrah and has made that drive for the last three ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senior organizations that appeal to conservatives

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend any advocacy organizations for seniors other than AARP? I cut up my AARP card a few years back when they supported Obamacare and am now looking for another organization that better represents me....

    July 29, 2014

  • Seniors adjust to different sleep patterns

    According to the National Institutes of Health, older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, sleep patterns change with age; this is often evident in the nursing home population. Frequent causes of interrupted sleep ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Ceremony marks opening of community center

    A July 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the addition of another feature to the Chickasaw Nation Carter service campus in Ardmore....

    July 27, 2014