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What To Look For in a Debt Counselor

Credit management is central to everyone’s lives – and if you’re like most people, figuring out debt is part of it. Whether it’s student debt, tax debt, or other types of debt, it’s challenging to deal with. But you don’t have to go through this hard time alone. Paying off debt is easier with an experienced, qualified debt counselor. If you’ve never worked with one before, you might be wondering what to look for in a debt counselor? During an already-stressful time, you need accurate answers  – and we’ve got them right here.

what to look for in a debt counselor

What should you look for in a debt counselor?

The Right Debt Counselor Tailors a Plan For You

Look for a debt counselor who will give you personalized financial advice. He or she will develop a complete budget analysis of your current financial situation. Besides providing debt management counseling. counselors also lay out and explain all your options (i.e., consolidation, debt settlement), as well as the pros and cons of each one. That way, you can decide the best option for you. They also try to reduce your interest rates and other fees to allow you to pay off your debt more quickly. Furthermore, a good debt counselor helps you create a budget and learn how to avoid debt in the future.

The Right Debt Counselor Answers Any and All Questions You Have

A good debt counselor won’t be judgmental of either you or your situation. Personal finances aren’t always so straight-forward, and curveballs happen. Debt counselors are here to answer all of your questions and to help you feel less overwhelmed. Fees are a particular question that debt counselors should be able to answer. They must be able to give you a specific price quote upfront – if not, that’s a bad sign. Asking other educated questions will give you a better idea of their intentions, and you’ll be able to fully judge whether they have your best interests in heart or not.

Another thing to note: the right debt counselors must be from reputable credit counseling services. When you’re in the red, any option that happens to pop up might look good at first. But be thorough about your research. For example, is this a non profit credit counseling agency that’s accredited by the International Standards Organization (ISO), or by the Council on Accreditation (COA)? Will this agency be willing to waive their fees if you just can’t afford them? You should also check the Better Business Bureau to see if there’s been any consumer complaints. Agencies who ask for a “voluntary contribution” (there’s no such thing!) should be avoided, as well as for-profit companies. Some scams promise to magically repair your credit for high fees. Finally, a reputable agency’s website should also have free educational materials and resources. Nonprofits are dedicated to educating the public and providing continuous support.

Now that you know what to look for in a debt counselor, you’re ready to take the first step to overcome your debt. Best of luck to you!

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC may be able to help. Call 800-769-3571 today to speak to a certified credit counselor.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Rae Yen

Rae Yen is a marketing coordinator at ACCC. She wants to help others optimize their financial resources and plan accordingly.

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