“The holidays are over. Now it’s time to survey the financial damage. Don’t panic, but come up with a plan to be debt-free in 2024. MMI is here to help with the first step.” – Thomas Nitzsche, MMI
STAFFORD, Texas, Jan. 03, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Money Management International (MMI) wants consumers to know it can be a healthy, happy, and debt-free new year. The nonprofit is poised to help tens of thousands of people pay off credit card debt in 2024.
“An increase in holiday spending coupled with high inflation and increased interest rates will only mean one thing in 2024 – more consumers will be debt-challenged,” said Thomas Nitzsche, Sr. Director of Media & Brand at MMI. “The holidays are over. Now it’s time to survey the financial damage. Don’t panic, come up with a plan to be debt-free in 2024. MMI is here to help with the first step. Debt and budget counseling is free from MMI and can help you get you started.”
As one of the nation’s largest nonprofit credit counselors, MMI recorded a 44% year-over-year increase in the number of consumers seeking its services during the week of Thanksgiving, with an 80% increase on Cyber Monday. In December, debt counseling was up 33% year-over-year.
This is a highly unusual increase for the season, but one that counselors feel is reflective of the challenges currently experienced by financially vulnerable consumers, including elevated interest rates and the restart of student loan payments.
But it’s not entirely surprising, as there has also been a steady increase in the number of consumers seeking credit counseling over the last 18 months across almost all age groups. In addition, the average level of total unsecured debt among consumers seeking debt help has also steadily increased from around $20,000 to almost $30,000 during the same timeframe.
“The idea of debt can feel overwhelming at times, sometimes to the point where we’d rather not even open up those credit card statements,” said Nitzsche. “Debt is always just a number, and even if it’s a big number, once you see where you stand, you’ll have a much easier time formulating a realistic plan.”
To start, MMI suggests taking stock. It can help to consolidate all that information into a spreadsheet or through a money management app. The important point is simply to get the full picture. If you need help getting started, the certified experts at MMI are available 24/7.
FIND YOUR WIGGLE ROOM
Simply paying the minimum on debt isn’t going to get the job done. Consumers need to apply a little extra cash each month to make progress. This may mean cutting back or cutting off regular expenses temporarily until holiday overspending is paid. A few small cutbacks can give consumers the boost needed to make short work of that new debt.
DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE
The trick with debt is this: consumers should never let it control their lives, but they also shouldn’t get so comfortable that they accept living with it indefinitely. The holidays will be back and there’s a very good chance shoppers will overspend again. If they haven’t made it a priority to repay current debts, it’s only going to get more difficult.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
MMI helps tens of thousands of people dig out of debt every year. Consumers need to know they’re far from alone when faced with high credit card debt.
MMI helps clients by working with their creditors to lower and fix interest rates on their credit cards and create a repayment plan to pay down their debts. Many clients find relief with a debt management plan, which can save them thousands of dollars and accelerate their repayment.
Money Management International (MMI) is changing how America overcomes financial challenges. MMI helps create, restore, and maintain a life of financial wellness through empowered choices. For 65 years, our clients have achieved financial confidence through nonprofit programs that educate, motivate, and liberate. MMI inspires action by delivering expert professional guidance and timely solutions aligned with our client’s goals. Experiencing a financial challenge? Find your solution 24/7 at 866.864.8995 and MoneyManagement.org.
For reporters looking to interview real people for stories, MMI has created a group of over 300 clients from across the country who are willing to share their experiences with the media, in the hopes of inspiring others challenged with debt. Our peer advocates have paid off $14 million of debt and now serve as MMI ambassadors. Hear from them on MMI’s podcast, Long Story $hort.
To schedule an interview with any of our MMI Peer Advocates, please contact:
Lori Geary, 404.551.2151, [email protected]
Thomas Nitzsche Money Management International 404.490.2227 [email protected] Lori Geary Lexicon Strategies 404.551.2151 [email protected]