If you're deep in debt, getting out may take more than just getting lower interest rates on credit cards, sticking to a budget, paying more than the minimum balance each month, or closing lines of credit. You may need professional assistance but if you still feel apprehensive about asking for it:
- Understand that you are not alone. There are many people in your situation who feel like they're drowning in debt, yet are too anxious to ask for help.
- Realise that there are trained professionals available to help people in your situation.
- Research budget advisors. You can find budget advisors in your White Pages under the heading “Budget Advice Services.” You could contact a budget advisor that is affiliated to the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services. These are listed under the sub-heading “Affiliated Services of the NZ Federation of Family Budgeting Services (Inc).” There is also an online directory of affiliated budgeting services at http://www.familybudgeting.org.nz which contains about half of the affiliated budgeting services. More information on budgeting advice is available at www.familybudgeting.org.nz or from your Citizens Advice Bureau.
- Pick up the phone and call a professional.
To find help, seek out those you trust. Your financial institution, consumer protection agencies, and friends and family may be good sources of information and referrals. If you choose to go the route of hiring a professional such as a budget advisor or lawyer, the following advice could save you precious time and money.