Owing personal debt can be like an elephant in your living room. You know it is there, but you do not want to think about it or acknowledge that it’s there. Now is the time to be level headed and be realistic about your debt, to discover the answer to the troublesome question that is on everyone’s mind: “just how much debt do I have?”
If you don’t know, don’t feel too bad, many people don’t know, and if they do know, many times, their spouses have no idea. You can’t heal your finances without knowing just how much baggage you are carrying and at what interest rates. So grab your bills, get a calculator and determine how much debt you really have. Once you know your total debt, you can start getting rid of it. Besides, it might be cathartic to put everything down on paper, and it might not even be as bad as you think it is!
Your next step is to figure out what your credit score is. As you may already know, your credit score is a reflection of your responsibility when it comes to taking on new debt and may have an effect on your ability to obtain credit, get a new car, living situation, or even a job.
You can obtain one free report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus. That’s three credit reports all in all. So it makes sense to get one every four months. This is a surefire and free way to be certain that you haven’t fallen victim to identity theft.
To get your hands on a free credit report, you can visit annualcreditreport.com; this website is run by the Federal Trade Commission. The primary thing to know about credit reports? High score is good, low is bad. Once you start to pay off your debt, the score will rise, once you begin to fall behind with payments, the score will drop. A high score means lower interest rates, low score means higher rates.
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