Paying off some of those old debts will definitely help your credit, especially if they're in collection. But is it better to try to settle with the collection agencies for less than you owe or to set up a payment plan? Carmen Wong Ulrich offers her suggestions.
If you have a financial question you'd like Carmen to tackle, post it here in the comments or email us directly at email@example.com
Watch Carmen Wong Ulrich's 'On The Money' Saturdays at 8PM ET on CNBC! Find more information on coping with the economy with our Bail Yourself Out resources.