KIMT News 3 – If you’re receiving calls from debt collectors, according to a new study, you’re far from being alone.
According to a study conducted by the Urban Institute, 35 percent of Americans have debts and unpaid bills reported to collection agencies.
The study found that debts averaged more than $5,000 for things like credit card bills, hospital bills and student loans.
One consumer credit expert says, if you are making the effort to re-pay, there are ways to avoid unwanted calls.
“One of the things you can do under the federal act, is to write a letter to that collection agency requesting no further calls. If you’re doing the best you can to repay it on a consistent fashion, that should probably end the calls,” said Tom Coates, Executive Director and President of the Consumer Credit of Des Moines.
Many states in the southern part of the country including Texas, Florida and Mississippi report that at least 40 percent or more are under debt collection.
Minnesota is among the states doing well with repaying debt, with just over 20 percent. Other states include Boston, Hawaii and California.
Only about 20 percent of Americans with credit records have any debt at all.
According to Coates, monitoring your credit is more important now than ever before, since many different facets of our lives now view your scores as well.
“It’s not just for buying a home or taking out a loan anymore. Even if you were trying to get a job, businesses will look at your scores to see if you can be responsible with your finances,” said Coates.
The report goes on to suggest that even though the country as a whole has whittled down the size of it’s credit card debt, issues like student loans have been a constant concern for young students.
Coates says these students find themselves in holes trying to repay their loans and building even more debt in the process.
One way to help avoid more debt is by monitoring your credit scores on a constant basis.
Other resources often overlooked include groups like the Consumer Credit of Des Moines where they conduct free credit counseling services.
These services will look into your personal spending habits and help build long-term solutions to debt repayment.