College Grads & Debt: How to Stop Collection Calls
Graduation season is upon us. On campuses around the country the sights of robes and graduation caps, the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance,” and the photos of loved ones celebrating the day fill the senses of graduates, friends, and families as one chapter comes to an end and they embark on a new one. Unfortunately, as the excitement calms, many recent graduates are confronted with the harsh reality of overwhelming amounts of debt. Most will then truly enter the world of responsibility by having to come up with ways of paying down their debt and fielding the phone calls from debt collectors. So, how can they pay down debt and stop collection calls?
Inevitably, that credit card is the main source of problems. Students spend more than they can afford and as they transition to their adult lives, and the interest payments alone can be overwhelming. It doesn’t take long after graduation for the bills to start coming in. Just as they congratulate their kids on a job well done, parents undoubtedly ask their children in shock, “You owe how much?”
A blog post on Forbes.com says that credit card companies want college students to be in debt because, frankly, that’s how they make money, pointing out that “students are easy targets” because they live in the moment, and are “deluded into thinking the credit card won’t present a problem when it comes time to pay.” Just when it couldn’t get any worse, the collection calls begin.
Even grads who have secured a job in this difficult economy may find it all too easy to fall behind on their bills. Defaults and past-due balances go from being something on paper to something they are confronted with in their lives. The same students that were “easy targets” for credit card companies now are “easy targets” for collectors and their tactics. They must come up with a plan to address their immediate financial well being and their long term needs, and they must learn what rights they have to stop the collection calls once and for all. Here are some tips for the indebted and the frustrated grad:
1. Take any job. You may not find your dream job right way, but you will be making money and creating networking opportunities.
2. Learn to save. Throwing away money at the club like you did in college has to become a thing of the past.
3. Deal with student loans NOW if at all possible. Pay what you can. If you don’t have a job, contact the lender and work out a plan.
4. Stop collection calls. This is easy. Consumer lawyers can stop the collection calls quickly and without charge. Learn your rights under the FDCPA and hire an attorney if you are experiencing debt harassment.
5. Pay off credit card debt and stop using that card! Spend only what you can pay in a 30 days cycle and don’t overdo it. Come up with a payment plan to get out of the red and into the black.