As much as you might think you’re on an island when you have this thought, you are not alone. Almost every borrower has had this exact thought at some point in time. When you first start to have this feeling, the best advice is to look at your monthly budget.
- What happened that caused the payment to be too much to handle?
- Do you have expenditures you can reduce or cut out altogether?
- Is this a short-term budget crunch or a long-term situation?
Take a breath and try to answer these questions and gain clarity about the situation. If it’s a short-term situation, you may be able to defer one or two payments to get you back on track and adjust your monthly budget. There are a ton of great budgeting tips online. CFCU has certified financial counselors in every branch who are glad to schedule a time to help you assess your situation and help create a plan.
If you have a longer-term crunch caused by a life event such as illness, job loss, divorce, or a disability, this may require a more creative solution. Often, you can refinance your loan and extending the term to lower the payment or consolidate debt to free up some room in your budget. The best advice is to be proactive and contact the lender to let them know about your situation as soon as you can. It’s a difficult conversation, but lenders would rather hear from you early rather than having to call you about missed payments. The longer you wait, the more debt, late fees, and expenses can accumulate, but it’s never too late to have an honest conversation. Even if the debt you are struggling to pay is with another lender, the credit union is still here to help. We can look at assets that you might own with equity to see if we can help you get cash to pay off some debts. If the loan is with CFCU, we’re always glad to work with you and see if we can develop a plan to help.
As frustrating as it can seem, no lender truly wants to charge off debt, repossess a car or foreclose on a home. These are typically the hardest outcomes for everyone involved and we’d rather help with a solution, if possible. Every situation is unique, but they all have one thing in common. The earlier you take action, the better the outcome.