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Advice for when you’re drowning in credit card debt

Mortgage rates are down. So are auto loans. What about credit card rates? Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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Imagine this: You have $30,000 in credit card debt. What do you do?

That’s a situation facing many people across America — including Ben, 28. He made the mistake of using a credit card to pay for school — it seemed like the easiest thing at the time. The interest rate on the card is around 16 percent.

Ben has a degree in communications, but couldn’t find a job in his field. Now he works as a supervisor at a golf course for one of his jobs. He brings in about $40,000 a year.

“It was a foolish error,  but it was at the time — I need to pay this, I need to pay this now,” he says. “I got myself in this mess, I want to get out.”

He has closed one credit card, but has others — with interest rates upwards of 10 percent. He doesn’t really have other savings and needs help.

Personal finance expert Liz Weston offers this advice: “Normally I say if your credit card and medical bills combined are half or more of your income, you need to be talking to a legitimate credit counselor, but you also need to be talking to a bankruptcy attorney.”

“You need to know all your options before you decide,” she adds. “You need to be realistic.”

One resource for those seeking credit counseling help: The National Foundation for Credit Counseling

For more of Weston’s advice, click play on the audio player above.

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