1) Foo: What are some of the early warning signs people should be aware of that may be falling into a debt trap?
Marlon: The first sign may be when you cannot make more than minimum monthly payments on your bills/debts and when you use one card to pay off the balance on another card. You also tend to forget the due dates of payments when you have multiple debts, which is another reason to incur late fees that in turn, may lead to debt problems.
2) Foo: In your experience in this field, what are some of the typical reasons people fall into the debt trap?
Marlon: I am sure many of you will support me if I say that one of the major reasons for falling into debt problems is excessive use of credit cards. Apart from this, many people also fall into debt after the festive season (Christmas and New Year), and if laid off or experience a medical emergency.
3) Foo: How does debt consolidation help repay debts?
Marlon: When people opt for debt consolidation, the major benefit they can enjoy is the opportunity to pay back multiple debts just by making single monthly payments. One can choose from consolidation program, balance transfer method or a secured/unsecured loan for the purpose of debt consolidation.
4) Foo: What types of debt can be consolidated?
Marlon: Most of the unsecured debts can be consolidated such as, credit card bills, medical bills, utility bills, store card bills, etc. However, you’ll not be able to consolidate your federal student loans with the help of a consolidation program; but you can always take out a consolidation loan to pay off your federal as well as private student loans.
5) Foo: Are there online tools available to help people better manage their own debt?
Marlon: Yes, there are a number of online tools such as, personal budgeting software, which you can use absolutely free of cost to manage your finances relatively better. You can also use specific debt calculators to work out necessary figures which in turn, can help you take out a suitable loan or plan your best repayment schedule. One is attached here -
6)Foo: What do I do if I think I need professional help with my debts?
Marlon: When you decide to get professional help, you can browse online to choose a suitable debt consolidation and/or settlement company, get online quotes and select one that you think will best suit your purpose. While doing so, it is advisable that you choose a reliable organization which has sufficient (at least 3 years) experience of providing services in the relevant field of expertise.
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