If you find yourself constantly living from paycheck to paycheck, you might want to consider a credit counseling program. A credit counseling program helps you develop a budget while managing your debt. For most of us, just keeping us with daily expenses is an ongoing effort. To manage this problem, we take out needless loans and use too many credit cards, and before you know it, we have a mountain of bills that can’t be paid.
Credit counselors and their services
Nonprofit credit counseling programs are the most common type of programs currently available to assist those who have gotten in over their heads with debt. Most will help you in a positive way to solve your debt problems. However, the nonprofit label for a credit counseling program doesn’t necessarily mean that its services will be free, cheap, or even legitimate. Some might charge hidden fees or expect unnecessary contributions that could plunge you further into debt. Be sure the company you are dealing with is reputable and has your best interests at heart.
Most credit counseling programs offer services through the Internet, local offices, or through telephone consultation. The most effective type of credit counseling program is one that offers in-person counseling. Try to get in-person counseling if possible. From your counseling, a good program will teach you how to manage your money and debts, develop a budget, and offer free workshops and educational materials. Counselors should be certified and trained in the areas of financial management. You should feel comfortable about discussing your personal financial matters with the counselor assigned to you.
Shopping around for a credit counseling program
Reputable credit counseling programs should be able to send you free information about their program, without the need to know any personal information about your financial situation. You should not work with a credit counseling program that will not provide this for you. Getting free information will enable you to select from a variety of programs to find the one that’s best for you. You can also do background research on credit counseling programs by seeing what your local consumer protection agency, attorney general, or Better Business Bureau has to say about them. If consumers have registered complaints about the credit counseling program, they might not be the best to use. Carefully consider any complaints you find, keeping in mind that some people are unreasonable or vindictive and not every complaint necessarily has validity. If the agency has a complaint, be sure to read their explanation of events to see what they claim occurred. Then decide if it makes sense to you to work with that company.
Questions to ask
After you narrow down which credit counseling programs you might like to use, you can make a final decision based on probing questions with which to “interview” the credit counseling program. They’re going to be asking you everything about your life, and you have the right to know all about them as a business too. A good question to ask is if agreements and price quotes can be made in writing. Formal written agreements and contracts can minimize confusion later on. Another good aspect to ask about is the qualifications of their counselors. Find out how they are trained or if they certified or accredited to help you with your problems.
What Advantage Credit Counseling Does
Advantage Credit Counseling Service (ACCS) is a nonprofit company that provides credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, bankruptcy classes, debt management counseling, housing counseling, and online classes for consumers that are struggling with debt. Advantage Credit Counseling provides free, confidential, and professional credit counseling services, and has been doing so for more than 37 years. Advantage Credit Counseling makes potential customers feel at ease by letting them know that their company has helped many others before in similar situations.
Counseling sessions with Advantage Credit Counseling
Your counseling sessions with Advantage Credit Counseling include one-on-one work with a certified credit counselor. Your counselor will help you get a better understanding of your financial situation and help you put together options you have that can help you better manage your money. After asking a series of questions and assessing your monthly spending habits, the credit counselor will help you develop a balanced monthly spending plan. This is an important step in the process because it will give you more money to work with and help you restructure some of your debts. The counselor could refer you to a specific debt management program, or local, state, and national programs that you could use to your advantage.
Who they work with and what they can do for you