Hi Terry, My husband and I are 52 and 53 years old. we have been working really hard to pay off our credit cards and we still have a combined debt of appx $50,000. We recently sold our house (used that money to pay off some debt) and are planning on moving out of state. We are looking for a reputable company to get a consolidation loan for the rest so we aren’t paying many places with no end in sight. I am leery because I don’t want to get caught in a scam company. we are the in the box kind of people and are looking for a legit company. I watch you on WGN and feel you are a great person to ask. I would appreciate any help.

Terry Says:  Contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227 for advice you can trust.  That number puts you in touch with the nearest local office — but don’t wait until you move.  They can evaluate your situation and advice on a repayment plan.  BUT, you are NOT looking for a consolidation loan — That’s just piling on more debt — and more opportunity to get in trouble in the future by using those credit cards again!  NFCC will work with you to advise on paying down your debt.  And if you can’t manage that on your own, they will create a repayment plan with your creditors.  They get your creditors to lower the interest rates and accept a smaller monthly payment.  You send them one lump sum every month and they pass on those payments to creditors per the plan.

Advice does not go on your credit report — but a repayment plan will impact your credit report.  So if you are still current on all payments, you might just want to follow their advice.  Remember the law of holes:  When you’re in a deep hole, stop digging!  They will help you adjust your budget and spending priorities so this doesn’t happen to you again.  Let me know how this works out for you.