University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FAR9015

Debt Recovery Tips1

Donna Davis2

Whether it's a holiday season, buying a new home, changing jobs, getting married or getting divorced, Americans often turn to credit to get them through. For many families, bad decisions about their credit can lead to serious problems.

If you've found yourself dealing with creditors or attempting to get out from under a mountain of debt, taking action early and taking proactive steps with your creditors are both very important. The Institute of Consumer Financial Education has a number of strategies they recommend for creating a plan to get back on firm financial ground. First, they say, take positive steps in order to reduce the negative impact of adjusting to a pay-as-you-go lifestyle. Establishing new spending priorities and strategies takes time and effort.

They also recommend you work directly with your creditors to avoid repeating your mistakes. They say, "The three basic ground rules when dealing with creditors are: be honest, be humble and be in touch." Try to contact them ahead of time if you know an income reduction is pending. Tell them how much you can afford to pay and how often you can pay it, then be ready to negotiate (Richard, n.d.).

There are many other strategies you can use to reduce your debts, but the first priority is getting started: the step that is often the most difficult. For more great tips on debt reduction, check out the ICFE Web page at

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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Richard, P. (n.d.) Dealing with creditors. Retrieved May 25, 2007, from



This document is FAR9015, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 106 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


Donna Davis, senior producer, Family Album Radio, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.