Has the Time Come for Debt Consolidation Counseling?

 


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Debt consolidation may take many forms. There are those with excellent credit who have a high level of revolving credit debt and decide to consolidate for convenience and the possibility of receiving a lower interest rate. Some people who have less than stellar credit but also have accumulated equity in homes they own choose to consolidate via a home equity debt consolidation loan. Still other individuals may find themselves being consumed by debt. People such as these are often living paycheck to paycheck, dreading the mail and avoiding answering the phone because the call is often from a bill collector. Many of these people are too embarrassed to seek help in consolidating their debts. They may also feel that there are no options for them.

In these days of easy credit offers and rampant consumer expectations many, many people find themselves drowning in high interest debt. You should not be ashamed if you are one of the people to whom this has happened. There are ways to climb out of the high interest consumer debt hole. Debt consolidation counseling is one of the best and most successful ways of tackling this problem.

High interest revolving debt can become an unending cycle of late or missed payments resulting in even higher interest rates and payments. Further, impending laws require credit card companies to raise the mandatory minimum payments on credit card debt. Not paying these new minimums in a timely fashion will result in still larger payments and increased interest rates. All of which will further deteriorate your credit. If you find yourself in this situation it is imperative that you seek debt consolidation counseling.

True debt consolidation counseling differs from a simple debt consolidation loan. Debt consolidation counseling enables you to negotiate with your creditors for lower interest rates and payments as well as reduced late fees. The amounts of your principal may also be negotiated down and the length of time you are given to pay off your debts may be increased. Equally important you will learn how to be in control of your debt rather than allowing it to be in control of you.

Debt consolidation counseling may take the form of one on one meetings with a counselor or group meetings. Budgeting and other forms of financial literacy may be discussed. An especially important lesion in these meetings will be the true cost of credit and the inability to ever repay most debts by paying only the required minimums.

Unfortunately, as the number of people in need of debt consolidation has increased so has the number of unscrupulous companies who prey on these people. Extreme caution must be used when deciding upon a company to use for consumer debt consolidation. Even groups which advertise themselves as non-profit can be dishonest. Some of these businesses are actually just brokers who charge high fees and do little to diminish your debts. Ask about fees. Be wary of signing any documents which call for voluntary, unstipulated fees. Get all information in writing. Don’t deal with any debt consolidation counseling company which refuses to put its terms on paper. If your situation is truly dire, inquire about fee waivers.

Select several debt consolidation counseling services and then investigate them thoroughly. Check each one out with the Better Business Bureau and The Chamber of Commerce. If you know other persons who have gone through debt counseling ask them for recommendations. Many churches and other religious groups have begun to offer debt consolidation counseling. These may also be good sources for reputable debt consolidation counseling or for suggestions about well regarded services.

Don’t suffer any longer. The only shame in debt consolidation counseling is in not seeking it when you need it.

Christopher M. Luck has an extensive professional background in working exclusively with the top debt counseling services and is now for the first time ever, is offering his free debt consolidation secrets to the public. If you are at all interested in Christopher's advice, tips, or secrets, you can visit his finance blog

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