In the state of Maine, over 63 percent of study respondents who took a debt relief survey admitted that they don’t compare different bank terms and data when shopping for loans and credit cards. Unfortunately, this leads Maine residents to higher-interest rate agreements that they can’t afford. Almost half of Mainers only manage to pay their monthly minimum on all outstanding credit card statements. Nearly 60 percent of individuals living in Maine don’t have a savings account to fall back on in case of financial emergencies.
Settling debt and going through credit counseling can help improve a person’s financial situation. Debt consolidation can provide individuals with the necessary funds to start putting money into their retirement and savings accounts.
Debt Relief Laws and Regulations in Maine
The law in Maine limits what a debt settlement company can charge their clients. The initial fee cap is currently held at $75, which means that any company charging over this amount is doing so unlawfully. In addition, there is limit of $40 that consolidation companies are able to charge for their monthly maintenance services. Maine caps the final consolidation fee, preventing it from exceeding 15 percent of the total amount owed. This is a lot less than most people have to pay living in other states.
It is not uncommon for debt relief companies to be charged with legal misconduct because they have violated laws specific to Maine. Certain companies have even tried to operate without a state-required license. Agencies offering these services have to be registered in the state of Maine and possess a $10,000 bond to protect client assets. Consolidation firms must re-register each year to keep their licenses current and up-to-date.
Socioeconomic Data for Maine
There are over one million people living in the beautiful state of Maine. Out of all those people, 630,000 are employed and a little less than 30,000 are currently unemployed. The median household income for the state is $60,000, with many families making less or more depending on the specific town and city they’re living in. The majority of workers in Maine are employed in office and sales industries.
Wealth and Poverty Levels in Maine
Poverty has been a problem in Maine for quite some time, though many are finding relief from their financial situations through debt consolidation. There are roughly 27,000 families in Maine who are living under the poverty level. Over 135,000 individuals on their own are also under the national poverty level. The wealthiest cities in Maine are Cumberland and York, while the most impoverished are Aroostook and Downeast.
How Debt Relief Provides Benefits
Debt consolidation has provided relief to individuals in Maine for years. Despite strict laws governing relief services, reputable companies function to provide respite in difficult times. Consolidating debt involves lumping all of your credit cards and loans into one easy-to-manage monthly payment. This helps individuals control their interest rates and avoid late fees because of delinquent bills.
For people with high-interest loans and credit cards, consolidating these items into one account prevents interest rates from becoming overwhelming. Going through debt counseling has prevented many families from filing for bankruptcy or dealing with extreme financial problems that were a result of over leverage.
Prime Candidates for Debt Relief
People who have $10,000 or more in debt can benefit from financial consolidation services. While relief companies can work with families with less debt, consolidation may not always be the first choice for these individuals. Consolidation works when a person has a lot of debt and needs to roll it all into one lump sum. In general, if you are struggling with debt and can’t seem to find a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s time to talk to the professionals.
Choosing a Company
The debt relief company needs to outline all of their services and term agreements before you are legally able to sign any contract. They will walk you through the process of consolidating and managing your debt, which includes putting payments onto one account and teaching you valuable budgeting skills. You should not have to pay an upfront fee when talking to a credit counselor as it is their job to first work with you to find the best option for your needs. Once you’ve established a relief plan, they can charge an initial fee and then a maintenance fee as specified by Maine law requirements.
According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, you should not pay more than a one-time fee of $50 and then only $25 a month from there to maintain finances. You will benefit the most from relief services when you keep credit counseling fees to a minimum. Debt relief can take months to obtain, so patience is required to make things work for you and your family.