Talk to a credit counseling agency about a big debt – Orlando Sentinel

Q: I have $45,000 in credit card debt and $7,000 in medical bills. Should I withdraw money from my second mortgage to pay off debts? What are my options? – San Francisco, Orlando

A: After a careful review of your assets, the best thing to do is speak to a nonprofit credit counseling agency. They can offer you a payment plan and negotiate on your behalf with credit card companies. This would put you on a set period of time to pay all your credit card bills. – Christopher Dale

Q: I am considering taking social security at age 62 and I have complicating factors including a younger second wife and a previous wife who I was married to or for over 10 years which means that she is also eligible to claim a benefit. Should I apply for my benefit earlier? –VD, Orlando

A: When to apply for your Social Security benefit is an individual decision. But a general rule of thumb is that if you can afford to wait, the 8% per year benefit increase is usually the best guarantee if you have the assets and cash flow to support your lifestyle while you wait. Plus, your young wife’s survivor benefit also increases as you wait. Your divorced spouse’s benefit will not affect you or your spouse’s future benefit. – Denis Nolté

Have a question? E-mail [email protected]. Include your name (only your initials will be printed), hometown and phone. Certified financial planners from the Financial Planning Association of Central Florida answer questions. The answers are for educational purposes only; you should also consult a financial professional. Questions and answers may be edited for reasons of space.