For many people in the U.S., debt is a heavy burden to bear. When you find it’s too hard to pay your household expenses and manage your bills, especially credit cards and other unsecured loans, seeking help from a credit counselor may be in order.
What’s a Credit Counselor?
Credit counselors are certified trained professionals who can offer advice on budgeting your financial life better and provide a plan to help you pay off debt.
What You Should Expect
Before an appointment with a credit counselor, you’ll want to make sure you have your current list of expenses ready, including housing, food, utilities, loans, and credit cards. You’ll also want to have your monthly income and credit card statements available to you. During your appointment, your credit counselor will go over all your finances, including your household income, monthly expenses, how much in credit cards and loans you have, and whether you have a budget.
Mapping Out Repayment
Once you’ve gone over everything, your credit counselor can provide educational materials and let you know of any upcoming workshops. Most importantly, your counselor will help you understand your options and advise you on your next steps, which will include building a customized plan to help you manage your expenses.
Debt Management Program (DMP)
If you and your counselor decide the best option is to enroll you in a DMP, they will work with your lenders to consolidate your unsecured debt 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.
While no one wants to be in so much debt they need credit counseling, if you’re struggling, taking matters into your own hands by seeking professional help can alleviate the burden of debt. It’s a credit counselor’s mission to help you find the best possible path to a healthier financial future.