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Reduce Your Debt : Assess Your Situation

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Does your debt outweigh your income? Do you find yourself only able to make the minimum payment on your credit card? Have you gone from using one credit card to two, three, or more? These are some of the standard warning signs of debt. If you recognize any of them in your own financial picture, take action to get your debt under control. Consider the following:
FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU STAND
Before you make a plan to get out of debt, get a sense of where you stand financially. Look over your outstanding debt — credit cards, car payments, mortgage, and student loans — to help you determine what your true needs are and what obligations have become hardest to manage.
Create or revise your budget based on your income and your expenses. Figure out how you can cut back on what you're spending.
MAKE A PLAN
Call your creditors if you can't make a payment or need to make a partial payment. Talk to them about payment plans you can afford. Creditors will want to work with you to find a solution. Also consider these options:
Pay off the highest-interest debt first. First pay off the balances of loans, lines of credit, and credit cards with the highest interest rates. Continue to pay at least the minimum due on your other accounts, especially one as important as your mortgage.
Refinance your mortgage. If interest rates have dropped since you took out your mortgage, consider refinancing to lower your monthly payments. You can also accomplish this by increasing the amount of time you take to repay your loan, or by changing the type of mortgage loan you have.
With its extended-credit programs, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage can provide solutions for many borrowers whose finances don't fit into the underwriting guidelines of traditional programs.
Consolidate your debt. Rolling all of your debt into a single loan won't immediately reduce your debt, but it may reduce your monthly payments, and having just one bill will make tracking and payments easier.
If you're a homeowner, you have the additional option of consolidating debt through refinancing or home equity financing. This may allow you to save even more through tax-deductible interest1. Read "Debt Consolidation" for more details.
Limit your credit use until your finances are under control.
See a credit counselor to help you explore your options and make a plan to get you out of debt.
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1 Consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest.
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