Overcoming Debt When You Are Overwhelmed

Overcoming debt when you are overwhelmed by it is no small task. If you cannot resolve your credit problems alone or need additional assistance, you may wish to contact an agency like the Consumer Credit Counseling Service or a debt settlement service that can help. These organizations counsel consumers who are in debt or make arrangements to settle outstanding debt at a lower rate. Both groups will try to arrange a repayment plan between the consumer and their creditors, and will help set up a realistic budget and plan expenditures.


If you have a problematic credit report, there are no quick, “magic” fixes. The only way to fix your credit history is through sound management of your money. Then, continued management your finances for a long enough period of time so that your history reflects responsible spending habits.

Some consumers turn to companies, which claim to be able to fix credit problems. These companies, sometimes called “credit repair clinics,” often make misleading promises to consumers, such as promising to remove a bankruptcy from their credit report and charge high fees for doing the same things consumers can do on their own. Overcoming debt is not something you can erase overnight and no company can legally remove legitimate negative items from your credit report.

hand holding a magnifying glass examining a sheet of paper that has the word bills at the top

You need not pay someone else to learn what is in your file or to correct inaccurate information.

Your Credit Report will contain information about multiple aspects of your financial history including:

  • Identity: includes your name, address, marital status, and your date of birth, number of dependents, previous address, and Social Security number.
  • Employment: includes your present position, length of employment, income and previous job.
  • Credit History: consists of your credit experiences with specific credit grantors.
  • Public Record: includes civil suits and judgments, bankruptcy records, or other legal proceedings recorded by a court.

Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act , consumer-reporting agencies may keep correct and verifiable information in your file for seven years, and ten years in the case of bankruptcy. There are a few exceptions:

  • if you apply for a job which pays more than $75,000 per year, the reporting agency may provide all the information it has, including items over seven years old.
  • information reported because of an application for more than $50,000 worth of credit or life insurance has no time limitation;
  • information concerning lawsuits or judgments against you can be retained in your file for seven years or until the statute of limitations expires, whichever is longer.

Others Who Can Obtain Your Credit Report

Any business, individual, or government agency may request a credit report for its legitimate business needs involving a transaction with the consumer. These include: credit granting considerations, review or collection of an account, employment considerations, insurance underwriting, a potential partnership, security clearance, or lease. Reports may also be issued at the written request of the consumer or a court.

Reviewing Your Credit File

You have to right to know the contents of your credit history. Upon request a consumer reporting agency must disclose to you all of its information about you and its sources for that information. This includes the names of all those who requested credit reports or other information about you in the last six months as well as anyone who obtained reports for employment purposes in the past two years.

You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus annually. Additionally, the credit-reporting agency must provide you with a free copy of your file if you have been denied credit within the last 30 days. When you receive your rejection, there will be instruction on how to obtain a copy of the report used to deny your application.

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