How to Get Out of Debt and Repair Your Credit

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension,

Got outstanding loan balances and credit card debt? Do monthly payments seem overwhelming? You are not alone. The ability to “buy now and pay later,” coupled with slick advertising, has made living beyond one’s means very tempting. As a result, many Americans, at all income levels, went on a credit-fueled “spending spree” during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now it’s time to pay back what we owe and get out of …

How Much Consumer Debt is Too Much?

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension,

The term “consumer debt” refers to all types of non-mortgage debt obligations. Examples include outstanding balances on credit cards, installment loans for cars and other “big ticket” items (e.g., furniture and appliances), and student loans. For every person with outstanding consumer debt, there comes a point, called “enough,” where carrying too much debt starts to cause financial stress. Even minimum required payments become difficult to make or perhaps some payments get skipped …

Dealing With Collection Agencies

Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension,

Outstanding credit accounts often go to collection agencies when people fail to pay their creditors. One of the most stressful parts of being in debt is receiving phone calls and letters from collection agencies requesting immediate repayment of outstanding balances. It is typical for calls and letters to become more aggressive and threatening over time. The term “collection agency” describes a variety of business models that have one thing in common: recovering …



What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a proceeding in a federal court in which a debtor who owes more than his or her assets can receive debt relief by transferring his or her assets to a trustee or agreeing to reorganization of assets and liabilities. Usually, at least two years must elapse from the discharge of the bankruptcy before lenders will consider making a loan to someone who has declared bankruptcy.

When is Bankruptcy an Answer?

Bankruptcy may be an answer …


Credit Cards

Welcome to PowerPay: PowerPay is a system designed to help you eliminate debt in the fastest possible way. PowerPay works when you are willing to:

  • Make a commitment to stop borrowing or buying with credit.
  • Systematically pay off debts.
  • Absolve each debt and continue to apply that debt payment to the next debt obligation.

Total monthly payments don’t change, but the distribution of those payments changes and the overall debt will generally be retired sooner and with considerable savings to …