While you may think you have it under control, if you have unpaid bills and are struggling with debt, many benefits come with seeking help. For instance, credit counseling is free and confidential, and most importantly—it’s effective.
Credit counselors are certified trained professionals who are experienced in navigating budgets, debt, and working with credit lenders. When you meet with a credit counselor, they will sit down with you and go over all your finances, which means your household income and monthly expenses, including housing, food utilities, loans, and credit cards. Once they have a good overview of your financial status, they can help you come up with a plan to pay back debt and meet billing deadlines.
According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, a 2016 report strongly supports the benefits of credit counseling. Findings showed that 73% of participants in credit counseling now pay their debt more consistently, while 70% have improved their overall financial confidence.
The results aren’t surprising. Credit counselors are also educators and can teach better ways to budget your finances as well as offer information on educational opportunities so you can grow your own financial knowledge. Counselors will also help you understand your options and advise you on your next steps, including customizing a plan that’s right for you.
If your counselor decides the best option is to enroll you in a debt management program, they will work with your lenders to consolidate your loans into one affordable monthly payment designed for your budget, while also potentially negotiating a lower interest rate, so that you can pay off your debt in three to five years.
The services a credit counselor provides can be critical in helping individuals burdened by debt fight their way out from beneath it. The outcome is that your credit counselor will help simplify the process of paying back debt, and over time, this will help you become a better manager of your finances—and life.