Learning About Home Insurance

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Drowning In Debt: What A Credit Counselor Can Do To Help

Finance & Money Articles

For many people, managing debt is complicated, leading to crippling debt with no foreseeable end. Credit counselling provides assistant to those struggling financially. They offer advice and solutions to get out and stay out of debt for life.

Examine your Financial Situation

The process begins with the credit counselor reviewing your financial situation, so you'll need to make sure you have all the appropriate documentation ready, including:

  • Employment and other sources of income
  • Expenses other than debt like groceries, utilities, etc.
  • Any assets you may have like a car, boat or home
  • All debts you currently owe

This cursory visit is often provided at no cost to you, and in if you choose a non-profit company, the entire process is free. During this process, the counselor studies your financial situation to determine if it is even possible for you to repay your debts at their current level with your current income.

Provide Honest Feedback on Your Situation

After the counselor has finished evaluating your financial situation, the feedback is clear and honest, so you know exactly where you stand financially. In some cases, simply cutting back on some frivolous expenses like shopping and entertainment may allow you to repay your debts in a timely fashion. In other cases, your situation may be so severe that the counselor suggest filing for bankruptcy to eliminate the debts completely. The most common solution, however, is a debt management plan (DMP).

Create a Debt Management Plan

A debt management plan allows you to consolidate all your debts. This single payment usually has a very low interest rate, which helps you to pay it back quicker. The plans are designed to help you repay your debit in just a few short years, so you are out of debt quickly. Your credit counselor works with your creditors to eliminate late payments, over-the-limit penalties and other costs that don't go toward repaying the actual debt. In some cases, they may even convince the creditors to forgive some debt, but in most cases, you have to repay the entire amount.

Design a Budget

Your counselor helps you create a budget that allows you to live within your means. Not only does this help to be able to repay your debt, but it helps you in the future as well. It's useless to go through all the trouble of eliminating debt if you are going to keep going over your budget because you'll just keep creating new debt. The credit counselor will offer advice on where you should cut back on expenses so you don't have create more debt.

Educate on Money Management

The last piece of the credit puzzle is money management education. Through this education, you learn about managing your money in every aspect of your life. Most commonly, this education involves:

  • Setting financial goals, such as how much you want to save for retirement
  • How to properly track spending, so you know when you are going over your budget
  • Tips on how to live more frugal
  • Managing debt better
  • How to save money toward the future

Through learning about how to manage your money, you can create your own budget at any stage in life, reducing your chances of needing a DMP again. You have a better understanding of what you can and cannot afford and where you will be 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.

Don't let your debt control your life a moment longer. Contact a credit counselor in your area to schedule a consultation. Through debt management, you can repay your debts and learn how to prevent your debt for snowballing out of control in the future. 

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1 October 2014