Becoming a Debt Warrior
Why would you want to?
You’re tired of the stress, you’re ready to live your life free from debt, and you’d like to join forces with the best!
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) has a battle-savvy debt warrior team who will be with you every step of the way, leading you to financial success. We know the worry, the calls, the sleepless nights that debt can cause.
Our Debt Team of Certified Financial Counselors help you first formulate a lifelong plan allowing you to be free of debt. Then, Debt Management Specialists like me will work with your creditors to get payment proposals accepted.
We will support you so that you can win the battles AND the war on debt. You will see more of your money being applied to debt balances with reduced interest rates... and late fees should go away.
You WILL be victorious! Are you ready to win the fight over your debt? ARE YOU READY TO WIN THE FIGHT OVER YOUR DEBT? I knew you were. Now drop and give me 10. Credit card statements, that is. And account numbers. Let’s GO!
Preparing for debt management boot camp
Before you embark on the good ship LSS Financial Counseling, it’s important to do a few financial push-ups. First, the biggie. Stop charging. If you are considering a debt management plan, your accounts will be closed once on the program — which is a good thing because you don't want to accrue anymore debt. Now, gather all of your most recent credit card statements for ALL credit card debt. Yes, include any scary collection letters or attorney letters if your debt has gone there.
A word about account numbers: Without them, you will not set sail; they are needed to set up an accurate program. Secondly, know what you pay to live: groceries, gas, car payment, insurance, daycare, haircuts, dining out, mortgage/rent, utilities, etc. I kid you not, we’re about to get real about your money.
Now, take a deep breath and call us for a free and confidential appointment, 888-577-2227 or GET STARTED ONLINE and repeat after me, your mantra: "Never surrender!" Say it daily; write it in lipstick on your mirror if you have to. *NEVER SURRENDER!
Going to battle
At this point you have met with a counselor; you have gone over and fine-tuned your budget, provided statements and account numbers and signed a Debt Management Plan contract. Huge relief, right? As it should be.
It’s important to know that the first few weeks, (up to two months in some cases with certain creditors) are spent getting our proposals accepted. Seriously, hang tight during this time; it can be arduous and a tad stressful. You may even be getting calls and late fees (repeat * mantra here).
You need to know that the transition to a DMP is a time of back-and-forth negotiation and the seas could get turbulent before the calm. It is the BIG PICTURE that will count and staying the course is vital.
Winning the world
Simply put, stick to your budget. You may have relied on credit cards in the past to make it all work, but now that those cards are out of the picture, your financial M.O. will have a completely different (read ‘different’, not impossible) feel.
Get excited about finding new ways to boost your bottom line. Dedicate yourself to the mission and make those on-time payments. And if you hit any bumps in the road, first go into crisis budgeting mode: prioritize expenses and cut what you can. Then, give us a call if you missed (or even think you might miss) a payment. Just don't give up!
TIP FOR SUCCESS: Using our Electronic Payment Service/ACH can be a huge part of a successful DMP.
When you near the end of the DMP, you will look back on making that first, sweaty-palmed call to LSS with delight when you get that ‘SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION’ certificate at the end of your program! (I know, because I was a struggling 30-something deep in debt before I became a successfully completed LSS DMP client myself..oh-so-many years ago!) You, too, can win this! NEVER SURRENDER!
Author Carla Melander is a DMP Support Specialist with LSS Financial Counseling.