Tips on Seeking Good Debt Management Advice
A number of people tend to overlook the good debt management advice experts provide because they feel that they can well manage on their own. But these people are those that have the tendency to make poor decisions that can actually worsen their financial problems.
Debt management is simply the means reducing your debt through managing your assets and negotiating with creditors. It involves debt management plans wherein you deposit set funds per month to specified accounts. The money is then used by the debt management company to pay off your bills.
In choosing a debt management provider, you should consider different factors. Enumerated below are useful tips on how to choose a firm that may bring you closer to financial comfort and eventually debt freedom.
• Referral – It helps if you exchange notes with people who has been in a similar situation; you can ask questions regarding their experiences with their credit counselors or debt management specialists. Moreover, a company of good reputation will be able to share their successful clients without giving out the personal information, so go on ahead and ask a referred company to give examples.
• National Accreditation – Not assuring success but a company that is accredited promotes high standards and ethical practices. One of the most outstanding accrediting bodies is the American Association of Debt Management Organizations. Companies under this group focus on credit counseling, debt management plans, and budget or finance industry education, among others.
• Better Business Bureau – This agency can provide you with information about the short-listed firms. You can also consider talking to someone from the State’s Attorney or Attorney General’s office to find out if the firms you are considering have been subjects of any regulatory action. It will also help if you check the firm’s website to confirm if it is a member of the online arm of the Better Business Bureau and if it has been awarded the reliability program online seal.
• Profit vs. Non-Profit Company – In some states, companies are required to be of non-profit status before they can do business in those states. Most non-profit credit counseling companies are often funded by credit card companies with grants and fair-share deductions so they can recover their money from those who are not making their payments. A non-profit company does not pay taxes. Analyze the company to weigh if their status is just a marketing ploy.
• Excessive Costs – Credit card companies and other lenders have lowered their funding for credit counseling. In turn, the counseling firms raised their fees. You should be wary of those companies charging a huge upfront payment when establishing an account. Some companies, on the other hand, can afford to waive their enrollment fees.
• Education – A good credit counselor or debt management specialist is always willing to provide you with enough information on how to manage your financial problems. This can be in the form of CDs or videos.
• Written Plan – A company of good reputation will allot ample time to analyze your situation, to help you budget, and to put the plans in writing. Everything has to be documented, from the terms of payment to realistic goal setting. Some of these firms can provide comparison quotes to see how much you can save, what your interest rate will be like, and how long it will take for you to be debt free.
Seeking good debt management advice should not be a burdensome task as long as you are equipped with the know-how and with an open mind that it can be done. The next thing you know you are already on your way to being debt free.