Consumers often panic when they find themselves in a state where their income is not sufficient to meet living expenses and their debt obligations. Some may take the first “life preserver” that seems to offer a reprieve, whether that is a debt consolidation loan, which may end up costing them more in the end, or using cash advances off their credit cards to make monthly payments which continue to mount higher and higher.
Credit counselors are trained professionals who appreciate how easy it is to get into a financial pinch, and how hard it can be to get out of it on your own. They have the knowledge and compassion, to give you debt help and work to solve the more immediate of your debt problems, and the skills to teach you how to avoid those same problems in the future. They can show you how consolidate debt without a loan.
If you need debt help, shop around for a credit counseling agency. Check to see if they are funded, non-profit, or a private agency. Ask what their debt help services are, and exactly what fees are charged to consolidate debt. Find out all the details of what is involved in any debt help service that is recommended for your circumstances.
When you have found a credit counselor that you feel comfortable with, and are satisfied they know how to handle your problem, lay all your cards and your debts on the table. In all likelihood, the counselor will only be able to give you debt help with unsecured debts, those that are not tied to an asset. These would include medical bills, or monies for services rendered. Secured debts you must continue to deal with on your own. These would include loans where the creditor holds title to something like a car or home. While your counselor may not be able to make these loans part of a debt repayment plan, they may be able to offer advice on dealing with secured debts.
The credit counselor is there to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Go over the details of how your repayment plan has been negotiated, what concessions were made, and how this will impact you financially. Find out how the monies you hand over to the agency, are distributed to your creditors. Ask about updated reports on your account. Your credit counselor will supply all the information on how your debts are being paid off, and how the repayment plan will be reflected on your credit record.
Remember, a credit counselor’s help does not erase your debt, or your debt record. But with their assistance in getting your debts paid off with regular, timely payments, they’ll help you rebuild your credit record.