Choosing the best debt management program can free you from the nightmare of unpaid bills and help you return your finances to good health. The best debt management program offers a structured path out of debt, a budget that helps you manage your money and a monthly payment that is affordable while eliminating credit card debt in 3-5 years. However, a poorly designed program – especially one you can’t afford to finish – can make your situation worse.
Before enrolling in a debt management program, understand the scope of your financial problems. To make that assessment, you need to speak with a credit counselor. This is a mandatory first step before you enter any sort of debt-relief program. The good news is that the first meeting is free. Every certified nonprofit credit counseling agency will look at your financial situation and advise on the best solution to your problem at no charge.
Some things to look for include:
- Search for a counselor through a professional organization as their members are required to adhere to best-practice standards.
- If you know a bankruptcy attorney, you can ask for a reference. Bankruptcy attorneys usually can tell you about the most reputable credit counselors in your area.
- Choose a counselor that conveniently offers services. Many credit counseling agencies do their meetings by phone or over the internet. Not every consumer can schedule an appointment during business hours. Ask if the counselor is available to speak by phone or meet after standard work hours.
- Do your research. Creditors might be able to refer you to a counseling agency. You can also check online sources for news stories about credit counselors.
- Remember that this is serious stuff. If you enter a debt restructuring and repayment plan, you’re expected to stick with it and that usually means 3-5 years. Credit counseling agencies work with card companies to reduce the interest you pay on your debt. If you don’t follow through with the payments, those interest-rate concessions can be canceled.
- Speaking with a credit counseling agency – Solution2Debts has no impact on your credit score.