If you’re dealing with debt, you might feel as though you’re alone in the world or that no one understands your problem. The good news is, there are people out there who are trained to help. A credit counselor will discuss your debt and current financial situation with you and help you put together a plan to improve it. Your counselor will do more than just help you get rid of a debt. A reputable credit counselor looks at the full financial picture and can help you develop a strategy not just for getting out of debt, but for staying out of it.
Help You Make a Decision About Debt
When you schedule a session with a credit counselor, one of the first things he or she will do is take a look at your current situation. Your counselor will ask you for information about what you earn, what you owe and what your monthly expenses are. He or she will review that information and use it to make a recommendation to you. It could be that by cutting certain unnecessary expenses, you’ll have enough income each month to pay more than the minimum on each debt.
Your counselor should be completely honest with you and recommend the solution that makes the most sense for your needs. For example, it might be that enrolling in a debt management plan, during which you make one lump sum monthly payment, makes the most sense. In more extreme cases, when you owe more than you can afford to pay back, even after cutting most expenses, filing for bankruptcy might make the most sense. Your counselor will review each option with you and help you understand the pros and cons of each decision.
Help You Put Together a Budget
Once your counselor has helped you understand your options for debt repayment, he or she can also work with you to put together a budget to help you work those payments into your monthly expenses and to help you get control over your spending. After examining where your money is going each month, a counselor can recommend ways to trim your costs, such as by getting rid of cable or packing a lunch more often. The goal of putting together a budget it to help you live within your means and avoid getting into debt in the future.
Help You Set Goals
Speaking of the future, a counselor can also work with you to help you set financial goals. Once your debt is gone, what do you want to do with your money? A counselor can help you figure that out, and can help you put together a plan to make it a reality.
Remember that not all credit counselors are the same. You want to find one who is working in your best interests. A few ways to tell if a counselor is focused on helping you is to ask if he or she is certified or accredited, ask for references, and ask about fees. A counselor should be upfront about what he or she charges and let you know about any assistance or hardship programs available if you can’t afford the fees.
To learn more about the counseling process, contact the team at CESI today. We offer free nonprofit credit counseling over the phone, in person or online and have helped thousands of people just like you.
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Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
CESI is NOT A LOAN COMPANY