If you need to dig yourself out of debt or a family budget that is stretched to the breaking point, you may want to consider having a little help to develop a plan and keep you on track. There is nothing embarrassing about using a debt counselor. If you are in debt, you are not alone. According to recent estimates, there are millions of Americans who are deep in debt. The important thing, of course is what they do about it.
A debt counsellor will help you by taking a look at the big picture as well as the details. He or she will examine your income, your living expenses, your short-term and your long-term goals and help you come up with a workable budget. Debt counsellors can also negotiate with your creditors to get your payments lowered and late fees eliminated.
In many cases debt counseling is free. You do have to be aware that there are unscrupulous people who will try to take advantage of others, even people in debt. You want to make sure that you don’t become a victim and have your situation become even worse.
There are two organizations out there to help you find a legitimate and skilled debt counselor. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) represent non-profit consumer debt counseling services. Finding a debt counselor through one of these services should be pretty safe.
Another nice thing about the member agencies associated with these groups: they offer no-cost or low cost debt counseling. The services are based on what people can afford, and no one is turned away.
You can also ask others for their experiences and recommendations. While there is still some stigma attached to being in debt, it is also true that the issue is so widespread now that chances are that you already know several people who have been through a debt crisis and can help.