There are few things worse than living with the constant burden of overwhelming debt weighing down on your shoulders. There is always hope for change. When you are struggling with debt and are in a financial rut, a credit counseling meeting or a debt consultation might be exactly what you need to get safely back on your feet.
Finding a credit counselor for a consultation is the easy part. Actually making the most out of your debt consultation is another story altogether. Luckily, if you take to heart the 7 tips for a better debt consultation discussed below, talking about your money problems with a trained professional will greatly benefit your financial situation.
Finding the Right Service
The most important thing to do to ensure the very best consultation is to make sure that you find the right service. Finding the best debt consultation service consists of a number of different things:
Know What You Need
There are a variety of different services related to credit counseling and debt counseling available to the public. The two main services are counseling/education and debt management/debt settlement. Debt counseling is usually the best route to take when you are first starting out. This is because debt management services can sometimes harm your credit score without benefiting you in any other way.
Make Sure the Agency Meets Legal Requirements
Once you have found a debt consultation agency that fits your needs, you need to make sure they are reliable. The first part of this is checking to see that your counselor meets all legal requirements. The easiest way of doing this is by checking that they are on the approved list of agencies.
Make Sure the Agency is Accredited
It is essential that you only go through an accredited agency when seeking out a consultation. The best way to make sure that an agency is accredited is by checking with the Better Business Bureau. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is also an excellent place for more information.
Make Sure Your Individual Counselor is Certified
If you have got this far in the check list, then chances are that the debt consultation agency you are looking at is reliable and trustworthy. However, it never hurts to check to make sure that the individual counselor you are meeting with is trained and certified.
One of the oldest tricks in the book – in almost any business – is to make the claim that a business is certified while ‘failing’ to mention that not all of the individual members of the business are certified as well. Double check that your counselor is certified to make sure that you’re in the clear.
Once again, the Better Business Bureau comes into play as it is a great place to check a business’s references. Before paying for and attending a consultation for your debt at any particular agency, check out the Better Business Bureau website to see what others are saying about them.
Make the Most of the Service
Once you find a credit counseling service that fits your personal needs in addition to being accredited and reliable, you need to prepare for the actual debt consultation. Being prepared will ensure that you get the most out of the service.
Ask the Right Questions
It is important to make the best possible use of your time by asking the right questions during your consultation. The point of a debt consultation is learning how to better manage your finances, learning how to pay off your debt, and making a personalized action plan to do these two things. Gear all of your questions toward these goals and make sure that you thoroughly understand your completed plan.
Consider Your Credit Score
If a poor credit score is your main worry, always go with a consultation or credit counseling agency. These affordable agencies are all about repairing your credit and keeping it in good shape. On the other hand, going with a debt management or debt consolidation service might sound great at first, but they’re a lot less reliable and cost much more.
Debt consultation is a great way to thoroughly understand your financial problems, create an action plan, and eventually get out of, and stay out of, debt. By following the 7 tips for a better debt consultation discussed above, you will make the most of your meeting and get out of debt faster.