DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been working freelance for the past 10 years or so, and it has been a rocky road. Sometimes I’ve had great contracts. Other times, not so much. This year has been especially tough, and I am broke. Really broke. I have credit card debt, and I feel like my whole world is collapsing on me. What I have done is not good, I’m sure. I have stopped answering the phone, and I see my credit score plummeting. I don’t know what to do. I am looking for work, but without some projects, I do not have the money to pay my bills. -- Up Against the Wall, Pittsburgh
DEAR UP AGAINST THE WALL: As hard as it may seem right now, the best thing for you to do is to be upfront with your creditors. Contact each one directly, and explain your situation. Ask for leniency. Promise to pay them something the moment income begins to flow again. Ask if they would be willing to suspend late fees and negative reporting to the credit card bureaus for a couple of months while you search for work. Since the credit card company's job is to recoup its money, it will likely try to work with you. Getting some (or ideally, all) of its money back over time is its goal. Generally, if you approach the company with a positive attitude, you will get some kind of support.