Spending down debt: You are afraid of losing your home

This is part of our series on strategies you can adopt to free yourself from burdensome debt.

What should you do if you can't pay the mortgage? You're not alone. Right now that's happening to more than a million people.

People get in trouble financially for many different reasons. Your interest rate may be set to go higher and you can't afford the new payment. Or you lost your job and can't pay the mortgage. Or you're facing surgery and don't know if you'll have enough money to pay the mortgage. These are the three most common reasons people give for not being able to make mortgage payments, but your reason may be different.

Whatever the reason, when you know you no longer can afford your mortgage payments, don't go hide in the closet. The first thing you should do is call your mortgage servicer (whether it's the bank you first took the loan through or a new bank that is now collecting the payments) and let them know you have a problem and what the problem is. Many loan servicers will tell you they can't do anything for you until you miss at least two payments or are more than 60 days late. If you can't get help from your mortgage servicer, don't give up seeking help and don't wait until you've missed two payments. Start working on finding a solution as soon as possible.