Having trouble with too much debt? If so, you are not alone. To help, there are many “debt consolidation” and “free credit counseling” firms that are interested in your business, and it’s probably best to avoid many of them. These private firms will charge high fees, and not all of them are looking out for your best interests. That does not mean you can’t get good help — you can. Here, we will learn about what help is available for getting our of debt.
Where to Get Help with Debt
For help, try taking a look at public credit counselors who work for non-profit agencies. Credit counselors will, for a small fee, make arrangements with all your creditors and set up a payment plan for eventually paying off your debts.
However, keep in mind that you will need to pay off your debts as quickly as possible, and you will likely only be allowed enough money to maintain essential living expenses. The positive is that by paying off your debts quickly, you will likely save thousands of dollars in interest charges.
Before seeing the counselor, you may want to try to put together a budget of your monthly expenses. That way, you will have an idea of really how much you can afford to pay down debt each month.
Also, the counselor may be able to help you with your budget, and if you need more time, try to lengthen the amount of time you have to pay off your debts. The time it will take for you to get out of debt will likely take at least as long as it took you to get into debt.
Each creditor will have to be contacted to work out a payment plan, including possibly reduced interest payments. By then making the necessary payments, and paying off your debt, you can then have your improved financial condition reported to the credit bureaus to help improve your credit rating.
When working with the counselor, avoid bankruptcy unless it is the last resort. The counselor should be doing his or her best to help you work out a plan to pay off your debts.
Who to Contact?
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the nation’s largest and longest serving national non-profit credit counseling network. They help over 1.5 million households every year reduce debt and improve their finances. You may visit them online atwww.nfcc.org.
Be sure to research anyone before signing up. Here are some checkpoints when choosing a credit counselor:
- Are they non-profit?
- Do they offer low cost services? You don’t want to pay for services that are going to place you further in debt.
- Are they accredited? By the NFCC?
- Are their counselors properly trained in money management?
- Check the company out at the better business bureau.
- Beware of up-front “processing fees”.
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