Why you should open those bill collection notices, even if you’re afraid to look

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By Liz Weston

Credit counselor Linda Humburg understands why many of her debt-burdened clients don’t want to open their mail. What bothers her, though, is the sheer volume of untouched bills and collection notices that some bring to their first counseling appointments.

“The shoe boxes [full of bills] don’t make my heart drop as much as the grocery bags and garbage bags,” says Humburg, counselor manager for FamilyMeans Financial Solutions in Stillwater, Minn.

Not wanting to confront unpaid bills is a perfectly understandable, if unfortunate, reaction to a bad financial situation. And it’s not just people in extreme debt who might be afraid to look. Many people avoid checking their credit scores or using retirement calculators because they’re afraid of what they might find.

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