LAD conducts debt collection workshop

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Tracy Wilson (left), a librarian at Roseville Public Library, meets with Kelly Bidelman, managing attorney of Legal Aid and Defender Association's Macomb County office, at the debt collection workshop. 

 Photo by John Meiu

Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. conducted a free debt collection workshop for residents of Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties on Sept. 18 at Roseville Public Library, 29777 Gratiot Ave., Roseville. 
Entitled “How to Handle Your Debts,” the workshop was one of a series of clinics and workshops conducted by LAD as part of its broad based advocacy program.  It covered credit card issues; debt collection issues; managing, repaying and prioritizing debt; handling harassing contacts from debt collectors; garnishments, and bankruptcy.
 
“First, put all your bills in a pile, then separate your secured and unsecured debts,”  Kelly Bidelman, managing attorney of LAD’s Macomb County office in Mount Clemens, advised workshop attendees.
Next, prioritize your debt payments, Bidelman said.  “Secured debt, like your house  and car, is the most important to pay,” she said.  “Don’t turn unsecured debt into secured debt.  Don’t refinance your house to pay your credit cards.”

After paying your secured debt, pay for necessities such as food, clothing and medicine, then insurance, Bidelman said.  Pay credit cards last, beginning with those with the highest interest rates.
Bidelman referred attendees to the website of Michigan Legal Help at http://michiganlegalhelp.org/ for further assistance.