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Credit Counseling: Is it Right for You?

 


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Are there circumstances in your life that are making it harder and harder for you to keep your payments current on many or all of your bills? Have you missed a credit card payment or two, or maybe you have medical bills that are dragging you down financially? Often it’s the unexpected occurrences that throw your finances into turmoil, and if your situation was precarious to begin with, these unexpected expenses are often the final straw. No matter how hard you struggle, you just can’t keep up with the monthly bills that arrive without fail. Being in this situation can be overwhelming and depressing for most people, and many of them have no idea that there is help right around the corner in the form of credit counseling agencies.

This may be something that you had never considered. Perhaps the term “counseling” was something you associated with people who were only having trouble budgeting their money, and not someone like you who had fallen behind in their payments due to the lack of financial means to pay them. Not so. Credit counseling services are there for a number of reasons other than budgeting. Yes, this is a main part of what they deal with, but there are several other reasons these services are so valuable. The counselors who work at the agency are highly trained professionals who are equipped to deal with all kinds of financial matters. They can help you figure out where you are going wrong, work with you to establish and stick to a budget, and talk on your behalf to the creditors who are harassing you and effectively stop the phone calls.

Before you can take advantage of these services, you have to locate a credit counseling agency that is going to have your best interests at heart. There are unscrupulous companies that are only in the “business” to make a profit, and they are the ones to watch out for. How do you do this? Researching, and checking into each and any company you might be interested in. Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if the agency has any complaints lodged against them. Find out what the amount of the fee will be for you at each agency, and what this fee includes. Get all quotes in writing, along with a copy of the company policy. Ask about the counselors and what type of certification they hold. Check online to see what is written about the agency, and look for reviews from previous customers.

The main reason for being so thorough is that you will be allowing access to all of your most sensitive and personal financial information, and this is something you definitely don’t want to fall into the hands of someone who is less than honest. Identity theft is a very real and serious threat, and becoming more so all the time, and you just can’t be too careful about who is looking at your information. Most credit counseling agencies are reputable businesses that are capable of helping you assess your debt and formulating a program to help you get straightened out. Hopefully, there is one right in the area where you live, and you will be able to go in and talk to a counselor face-to-face. This is much better than conducting your business on-line or over the phone.

It is your job to ask questions pertaining to your particular situation, and take into consideration what you are being told. Does it sound satisfactory to you? Do the answers seem to honestly address all your concerns? Is the employee willing to show you written agency policies and terms? If you are completely satisfied and the counselor seems to be completely upfront and reliable, and you are quite comfortable with him or her, then this is the credit counseling agency that can help you get your finances straightened out. While all this may seem to be a bit overboard, you have to be as cautious as you possibly can when dealing with someone who is going to be privy to your information. are valuable resources when it comes to assisting people who are having a hard time getting their bills paid or living within the confines of a budget.

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