1. Trusted and local: You’ve decided to pick up the phone and call an organization that says they do “credit counselling”. But what questions should you ask?
- Are the counsellors certified?
- Do they offer in-person counselling?
- Check with the Better Business bureau (BBB) to see if the agency has any complaints filed against them.
- Ask your creditors if they’re willing to work with the organization you have contacted
- Is the credit counselling agency licensed to operate in my province?
- Are they an accredited agency?
2. Reality check
You’ve been struggling to make ends meet, just living from paycheque to paycheque. You make a good salary and just can’t understand why it seems so hard. A lot of times, people just don’t know where their money is going. A credit counsellor can show you exactly where you’re spending your hard earned dollars. You may not realize that the large Mocha Latte everyday is actually costing you $75/month or that eating lunch out 3 times a week is adding up to $120/month.
3. The “B” word
A credit counsellor will show you how to make a budget and stick to it. Budgeting doesn’t mean having less, it means doing more with what you have. Your situation may not be as bad as you think. You might need to trim a few areas of your spending in order to afford the things you really want or need. Everyone has different priorities. A credit counsellor can help you determine yours so you can achieve your financial goals. Who knows? You may even end up with some extra each month for that vacation you’ve always wanted to take.
4. Stop the phone calls
Have you ever had that sick feeling in your stomach when you hear the phone ring? Daily life is stressful enough without the added pressure of creditors calling and demanding payments. A lot of times, your situation isn’t a result of something you’ve done, but it could be a circumstance that was out of your control such as a loss of job, reduced income, divorce, sickness, etc. A credit counsellor recognizes this and can help you work through it. Unfortunately, the person on the other end of the phone is not always willing to listen.
5. Your credit rating
Your credit report is a snapshot of your credit history and one of the main tools lenders use to decide whether to give you credit. If you don’t pay your bills on time or skip monthly payments, it may be the reason you were turned down for that loan or weren’t able to get a lower interest rate. A credit counsellor can help you get a copy of your credit report, understand your rating and the effect it is having on your credit, and also offer tips on how to improve your credit score.
6. Am I bankrupt?
There are times when you feel your situation is hopeless, but bankruptcy may not be your “best” option. While it might seem like the easiest way out when you are experiencing financial difficulty, it can have long term negative effects. Credit counselling is ALWAYS the best first step. A credit counsellor will review your situation and advise you as to what is in your best interest. They’ll do everything they can to prevent you from declaring bankruptcy, but at that same time, if that seems like your best option, credit counsellors are qualified to make that determination and point you in the right direction.
7. Debt really can disappear
Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to wave and make all of your debt disappear. However, a Debt Management Program may be just what you need. A credit counsellor can help you achieve the financial freedom you deserve by working with you and your creditors to develop a debt management program that will reduce your monthly payments and possibly interest charges and other fees. Anyone really can become debt free. It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of hard work, but you can get there if you’re committed.
8. Ongoing support
When dealing with a “good” credit counselling agency, you’ll receive support from the moment you walk through the door, through the duration of your debt management program and beyond. It shouldn’t be about signing you into a contract, taking your monthly payment and never returning your phone calls. Local not-for-profit agencies are more about helping people than helping themselves.
Credit counsellors don’t just want your debt to go away. They want it to stay away. They’ll provide you with the tools and resources you need to stay debt free and enjoy a life of financial freedom. Accredited credit counselling agencies also offer community workshops and presentations to consumers in their communities. Knowledge is freedom!
10. A better life
Just imagine not having the stress that comes with financial worries. When you have too much debt, you can’t get the things you really want or provide for your family the way you want to. By eliminating or reducing your debt, you’ll have more savings, less anxiety and an overall better financial health. You deserve it!
For more information on how you can benefit from credit counselling, contact us today at www.solveyourdebts.com.