Dear Debt Adviser,
I have $38,000 in debt on three credit cards. I am retired and have an income of about $3,100 per month. I have frozen two of the cards to keep the interest rate down. I have been able to make the minimum payments on time until this month. But, we are elderly and have a lot of medical expenses. I would appreciate your suggestions on this. Thank you.
-- Darrel and Phylis
Dear Darrel and Phylis,
I am glad you wrote. It is much better to try and tackle $38,000 in debt before you have missed payments than after. Based on the information you provided, I have three courses of action for you to consider. First, do it yourself. Second, speak with a professional credit counselor. And third, speak to an attorney. These are not mutually exclusive, so you may end up using multiple resources.
I suggest you begin by contacting the issuers of the two frozen credit card accounts and asking if you qualify for a hardship program. With a small income, your age and high medical bills, they may have something that will help. Approach the third credit card firm with the same inquiry if you still need to. I want you to save them for last as they might increase your interest rates or cut you off, depending on how aggressive they are. As it's your last credit card, you may want to keep it out of this, if possible.