Dear HPF: What if My Mortgage Delinquency is Just One of My Financial Challenges?
Many people who call our HUD- and Treasury-endorsed Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline for help with their immediate mortgage needs are pleasantly surprised to learn that our counselors have the training, expertise, and financial insights to help do more than provide information to avoid foreclosure. At the caller’s request, they can also help them address other financial challenges that might be compounding the problem, such as maxed out credit cards, dwindled savings, high interest rate store credit card debt, unpaid utility bills, and past-due car loan obligations.
In our experience, rarely do mortgage delinquencies occur in a financial vacuum. A study published by TransUnion last year, for example, found that more than 60% of people who were delinquent on their mortgage were also behind on their auto loans and credit cards. It’s an all-too-common scenario.
So, while every one of the counselors are HUD-approved, housing counseling specialists, the vast majority of them are equally prepared to provide more holistic financial counseling to homeowners who need guidance with getting all their finances back on track. They will help the caller look beyond just the immediate issue of addressing the foreclosure worries, and help them create monthly budgets and realistic “pay back” schedules to clear debts, understand better where and how they are spending their money, and ultimately restore their financial footing.
Although we are known for our housing counseling expertise, having this “big picture” financial counseling knowledge and offering it to interested homeowners through our counselors certainly makes sense. Logic suggests that someone looking to prevent foreclosure (or, after having received a loan modification, are looking to stay current) has a far greater chance of doing so by getting all his or her finances in order.
The more complete a picture our counselors have of your financial situation, the more likely it is that we can help you manage it — all of it. And while the thought of sharing all the details of your financial life to an outsider over the phone may seem a bit uncomfortable at first, we really are just here to help. Our counselors don’t judge people or lecture them for how they’ve been handling their finances. Quite the contrary — we understand that personal finances, like life, can get messy sometimes through no fault of your own. Holistic counseling is an ideal way to begin to mop it up when it does.
If holistic counseling sounds like something that could benefit you, just call our Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE today and let your counselor know.