Debt Counseling: How & Why It Works

| May 31, 2010 | 0 Comments

Maybe you’ve had yet another money argument with your spouse. Or, perhaps you’re just tired of worrying about your finances all of the time. Regardless of your motivation, if you’ve decided to consider debt counseling, you’re not alone. Many people are in the same situation – up to their eyeballs in debt; with no true idea on how they got there, and even less of a clue on how to get out.

Ironically, relieving yourself of debt is akin to losing weight. Just as there is no miracle diet pill; there is no fast and easy escape from debt. To free yourself from the crippling weight of your financial stress you will absolutely need to arm yourself with knowledge. Choosing to use a debt counselor is an excellent way of achieving the information you will require to systematically pay off your bills.

They are experts at the nuts and bolts of managing your debt versus your income. Once you’ve located a certified counselor, they will likely send you a form to fill out before your first appointment. On these sheets of paper you will record every debt you have, their interest rates, the balances owed, the credit you have remaining (if any), and your monthly minimum payments. You will also need to list your household income.

With this information, a debt counselor will be able to:

Make you aware of how your balances, current interest rates, and minimum payments will affect the timeframe in paying off each individual debt. Be warned, these numbers will leave you in shock.
Teach you how to manage your income versus your expenses. Read that again. This is possibly the most important lesson you can learn to begin clearing your debt. In addition, having this knowledge will be paramount in avoiding the debt trap in your future.
Give you doable examples of steps you can take to begin reducing your debt. Different possibilities they may discuss with you include debt consolidation programs and various types of debt consolidation loans.

Speaking of loans, do you know what your credit score is? If you don’t, a debt counselor will explain to you how to get copies of your credit report. They will educate you on why this score is so important and how it is used. If your credit report is showing erroneous information, they’ll make sure you know how to get that fixed. Oh, and did you know you can add comments to your report? If you have a valid reason to explain a certain situation, you can ask to have that information included.

Becoming debt free is a slow, but achievable, process. Focus on your goal and steadily move in that direction. Before you know it, you’ll arrive at the other end – aware, informed, and debt free.

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