Debt management groups, or debt counseling agencies, are good sources if you are over your head in debt. They work to make your debt more manageable, from helping you create a plan to negotiating with creditors to lower interest rates and sometimes balances.
But not all debt management groups are helpful. Many people have been taken in by a group only to discover later that they are still in the same debt they started with despite the high fees they have paid the group.
So how can you prevent this from happening to you? While the easiest way may seem to be ‘don’t use debt management groups,’ this is dismissing a means of debt management that is usually very successful. Instead of rejecting the method outright, your best bet would be to choose your debt management group with care. How can you do that?
For one thing, get references. The company itself may be able to provide you with these, or you can talk to people you know about debt management groups they used. If these fail, you can always check with the Federal Trade Commission, the Better Business Bureau, or the Council on Accreditation, each of which has its own way of keeping visitors informed of the good and the bad of a debt management group.
Once you have decided on a couple of debt management agencies to look into, you should speak to their representatives to find out how their programs work and what it is going to take to get you debt free again. Make sure you get all of your questions answered. See what fees are included and be certain that they make sense to you. There will most likely be fees incurred along the way, which is fine so long as they are fees that you can justify. If they are nonsensical, you probably need to choose a different group. Get quotes from more than one debt management group before deciding which one you are going to employ.
The most important thing may be to make certain you know what is expected of you and what you should expect of your debt management group before you make your decision. Even among reputable companies you can make a wrong choice. Each company and plan is different and therefore will suit different needs. Be sure to do some research to find what will work best for you.
Kari discovered the magic of writing early, in elementary school, and has devoted every spare moment to it since. She writes fiction for her own amusement, and recently began writing articles for The Daily Tar Heel in Chapel Hill. Besides writing, she loves spending time with friends and family, reading, and drinking coffee. She defines herself based on her faith in God, her family roots, and her dream of one day publishing a best-selling novel.