When you're sick, you seek out a doctor to help you get healthy again. But what if your disease is debt? It may be time for a session with a certified "money therapist.”
Expert help is available in the shape of credit and debt counseling organizations. Debt counseling sounds like a session with a financial shrink, and in a way it is. Except the thing that will shrink is your debt.
How Counselors Work
Credit counseling agencies are non-profit companies that show how to manage your money. They also work with you to form a debt management plan, or DMP. Agencies receive most of their funding from creditors who collect payment after you pay the agency. Agencies will give you information on programs and general information for free. Some agencies charge you for setting up a plan; others offer plans for free. After you've completed the program, the agency will then help you re-establish your credit.
How to Choose the Right Credit Counselor
Once you are ready for some confidential, financial TLC, where do you start? Here are some helpful tips on trying to find a credit counselor:
If you decide you need a debt repayment plan, you can expect the following:
One final note: be wary of fly-by-night agencies that claim "instant credit repair." Steer clear of offers you see advertised on television or magazines that seem too good to be true -- they usually are. You can't buy a new credit history. That has to be earned.
Remember, don't wait until you are seriously in trouble to consider debt counseling. Act now if you're even a bit worried about your spending habits or financial situation. You'll find getting money-management tips from debt counselors is definitely worth it.
To Get Help
Most local agencies go by the familiar CCCS name. The National Foundation for Consumer Credit is the nation's oldest and largest non-profit financial counseling organization. To find a local office near you, visit www.nfcc.org.
|INFORMATIONAL DISCLAIMER The information contained on or provided through this site is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional financial or accounting advice. Always seek the advice of your accountant or other qualified personal finance advisor for answers to any related questions you may have. Use of this site and any information contained on or provided through this site is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.|