Around the time the economic stimulus package was signed into law and hit the news, I began to notice a lot of odd new advertisements online about the “Obama stimulus plan” and so called debt relief grants. As a financial counselor, these ads naturally caught my eye for several reasons.
I also began to receive emails and calls from clients asking these grants and things like Obama’s debt reduction plan. At first I thought people were simply confused about what the Economic Recovery Act actually was designed to do. Gradually, as I began to see and hear the many advertisements, I realized that people were actually being mislead.
No Grants for Debt Relief!
The fact is, there are not any type of government grants for consumer debt or credit card relief. There is no mention, not even a hint or slight reference, to any type of grants for consumers in the Economic Recovery Act or “stimulus bill.”
There were, of course, some new laws involving mortgage modifications and helping people facing foreclosure. These were simply new loan agreements, not grants, and they were restricted to certain people with mortgage debt. Other types of assistance for consumer debt reduction were not included at all.
The sad truth is, any advertisement or company referencing these grants or programs is, at best, misleading you or, at worst, and outright scam. My quick and cursory research showed that most of these online ads were the work of affiliate marketers and a few debt settlement companies.
Real Debt Help
If you are in need of real help with your debt, you will first have to accept that their or no quick, painless ways out of debt. Getting out of debt often requires sacrifice, hard work, determination, and even lifestyle change. You can’t get out of debt by living the same way that got you in debt in the first place!
For most people, this simply means learning about budgeting and credit card interest, making smarter decisions (like deciding to spend less than you make), and implementing realistic debt reduction strategies.
This also means that you quit trying to find the “easy” way out. Avoid filing for bankruptcy except as a true last resort, and stay far, far away from debt negotiation services. If you do need additional help and you can’t handle it on your own, you may wish to carefully consider your debt consolidation options or speak with a legitimate, accredited non profit credit counselor.
And remember, there is no easy way out, but there may be an “easier” way out. The key is to learn at least enough about personal finance so that you know when and where to turn to for advice you can trust.