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Book Review: Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress

I'm happy to recommend a new book full of detailed advice on solving credit problems, "Reduce Debt, Reduce Stress: Real Life Solutions for Solving Your Debt Crisis," by Gerri Detweiler, Marc Eisenson and Nancy Castleman. They are three smart folks I have interviewed every now and then over the past 15 years, or even longer. Detweiler, in particular, is an expert on the intricacies of the credit card world. Eisenson and Castleman have long encouraged people to save big on mortgage interest by prepaying their principal. They're advocates of a back-to-the-land life of voluntary simplicity and cheerful frugality, and were living that lifestyle way before thrift became the cool thing to do.

What I liked best about the book is that it addresses most of the options available to people in trouble with credit, including debt consolidation plans, credit counseling and bankruptcy. Often, I've seen that credit counselors avoid talking about bankruptcy, and bankruptcy lawyers are quick to dismiss other alternatives, approaches that do a disservice to consumers. In particular, I liked the book's "14 red flags to ask a credit counseling agency;" the chapter on "scams, schemes and rip-offs to avoid;" the primer on using reverse mortgages, and the straightforward review of the pros and cons of tapping retirement savings to pay off debt. The book is written in a simple, easy-to digest tone, but doesn't shy away from going into the details about interest compounding and other technical aspects of credit.

However, I wish they had devoted a full chapter to the issues faced by homeowners who are sliding toward foreclosure, including the mechanics and repercussions of short sales and the way mortgage debt is treated in bankruptcy. They are the key issues of the day, and deserve more attention from the authors. Perhaps they will be able to take advantage of the malleable e-book format to add another chapter or two specifically addressing these points.

The e-book, $14.95, is available only as a download from their Web site.

If you've read something good recently about managing debt, share your recommendations below!

By Elizabeth Razzi  |  April 14, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Book review , Foreclosure , Loan modifications , Mortgages  | Tags: credit, credit cards, credit repair, debt, debt consolidation, foreclosure, mortgage  
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People in financial trouble would be so much better off reading a book like this than paying out more money to scam artists who promise to "fix" their mortgage problems.

Posted by: Sgoldberg | April 14, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

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