Benefit From Credit CounselingGet Credit Counseling Help
If you find yourself in frequent financial difficulties, you may want to consider getting credit counseling. Agencies that provide credit counseling usually offer a variety of services to help consumers get control over their financial situations including financial advice, budget creation, and community education programs. They often also offer debt management plans (DMPs) that can help you if you are buried in debt and can't see your way out of it.
You must be aware, however, that the credit counseling industry has a spotty history with some of these agencies providing bad advice, charging unnecessary fees, and using deceitful tactics to gain customers. Many of the companies that you see advertising on television are in fact credit repair companies, not credit counseling services. These unscrupulous companies often charge exorbitant fees for services that you can very easily perform free.
Credit counseling is not needed for all consumers. You can work out a better budgeting system and savings plan on your own and can even negotiate with your creditors for lower payments without any help from an outside agency. If your financial situation is extremely serious, bankruptcy could be the solution, although this option should be taken only in the direst circumstances.
If you think you could benefit from credit counseling, be sure to take your time and carefully compare agencies before deciding which one to use. Check with your friends and family for recommendations. You should always check out a company with the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General's office for your state to see if the company has any complaints filed against them. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a good resource for finding services in your area.
If you are an active or retired member of the military, you can get assistance through the program Military OneSource. Simply call their toll-free number at 1-800-464-8107 to locate the nearest installation. Utilizing their family service center can help you get the financial assistance that you need, whether with making a budget or creating a debt reduction plan. Another option for service members could be through a military relief society, as some of these will offer credit counseling services, as well. A Navy or Marines member can contact the Navy Marine Corp Relief Society and members of the Coast Guard have the Coast Guard Mutual Assistance organization to turn to.