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  3. April is Financial Literacy Month: Controlling Debt

April is Financial Literacy Month: Controlling Debt

Release Date: April 29, 2021

As Financial Literacy Month draws to a close, it is important to discuss the importance of controlling debt. Online shopping and easy access to credit cards can make accumulating debt easy. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, American households carried outstanding credit card balances totaling $925 billion dollars at the end of 2020.

Debt can cause stress and uncertainty, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. If you are carrying large credit card balances or other types of debt that are weighing you down, follow these simple steps to take control of your financial future:

  • Step 1: Develop a realistic budget so you can see your income and expenses in one place, and look for ways to save money.
  • Step 2: If you’re having trouble keeping up with your payments, contact your creditors and explain the situation to them. They may be able to modify your payment plan.
  • Step 3: If you aren’t able to find relief after contacting your creditors, contact your Component Employee Assistance Program for a referral to a credit counseling service.

Debt Collection – What You Need to Know

If you are receiving calls, emails, or letters from debt collectors, it can be very overwhelming and stressful. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly.

CFBP has a variety of resources about debt collection, including a guide to help you understand your rights and responsibilities, sample letters for responding to debt collectors, a list of rules that regulate how and when debt collectors can contact you, and information the law requires that debt collection agencies provide to you.

Your Employee Assistance Program is Here to Help

If you want help getting your debt under control, or want guidance in formulating a family budget, your Component Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can help. Your EAP provides offers practical financial information and financial planning tools. Designed to provide you with what you need to reach your financial goals, the EAP’s financial services program offers objective, targeted information on a wide range of topics. For more information contact your Component EAP or send an email to worklife@hq.dhs.gov.

Last Updated: 04/29/2021
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