When you were little, you may have expected quicksand to be a much bigger deal than it actually us. Quicksand was everywhere in TV, movies, and stories in general, including a cute but anxiety-inducing picture book. Adults and comedians alike have now realized that we're not likely to get sucked into a sandy pit which traps us more the more we struggle. That's why we have debt in our lives.
We all hate it, and almost all of us have it. Debt is a huge weight around our necks; a lot of us are scared it's going to stick around forever. There are lots of strategies for paying it down and managing it so you can breathe a little easier, but if you're worried that you'll never really get the help you need, here's some good news. Economists at Washington University in St. Louis have just released a study detailing a highly successful path to debt reduction: credit counseling.
It's not a bad idea to discuss your financial stresses with a mental health professional, but credit counseling is largely offered by nonprofits. Counselors work with you and your debt load "through a combination of financial education, budget guidance, and debt restructuring products," said co-author Stephen Roll in a press release. Not only that, but in the 18 months after going through counseling, "the counseled group reduced their revolving debt by an average of $3,637, and reduced their total debt by $11,341."