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The ‘Free’ in MN ‘Financial Freedom Day’ is for ‘Debt-Free’

September 26, 2007

Duluth, MN – Governor Pawlenty has designated today "Financial Freedom Day" in Minnesota, to encourage people to watch their spending, and to help those in debt get out. Financial counselor Jody Anderson says the key is to have a financial plan, and stick to it -- which means not spending more than you can afford.

"It becomes extremely easy to use different forms of credit to put your finances together, once you discover that you have insufficient funds to cover what bills you have."

Anderson says borrowing money from credit card companies means your debt only increases, which puts a lot of people on a slippery financial slope. She says if you're already in "over your head," a financial counselor can help you draw up a plan to get you back on your economic feet and avoid the inevitable spiral of unpleasant consequences.

"The first thing that happens is, the creditors start to put pressure on you to pay that debt. It becomes a strain on you individually, but it usually becomes a strain on a family as well. Secondarily, there'll be fees that will be added on to that debt once you begin to fall behind, and the late fees. After that, it starts to affect your credit ratings."

She says being in debt also makes you financially vulnerable, creditors can file legal judgments against you, and you may not be able to get a house or car loan, or another credit card.

The Web site of Lutheran Social Service contains more information about debt reduction, at
www.lssmn.org.

Jim Wishner/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MN