In the world of debt relief, there are six options you may choose from: strategically making more than the minimum monthly payment on one or more of your credit cards, credit counseling, debt consolidation, debt settlement/negotiation, refinancing your mortgage, or filing for bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13). None of the options are easy, but they can be successful if you have the right attitude and the right people helping you. In this article, I want to focus on credit counseling, specifically those organizations who are accredited with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Here’s a little recap of what credit counseling can do for you. If you’re looking for a credit counselor, you are most in need of creating a budget in order to pay off your unsecured debts (mostly credit cards) while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. During the process, you may be enrolled into a debt management program, and your counselor may contact your individual creditors to discuss either lower monthly payments or lower interest rates. A debt management program may last up to five years, and because creditors may view it as being similar to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy (restructuring), your credit score may drop. However, if you are successful in completing the program and paying off your debts, your score will improve.
It is important to find the right organization. Some companies are for-profit and will charge many fees for their services. You should search for a non-profit organization that is certified. The most widely recognized organization that may be of great service to you is the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
The NFCC is the largest financial counseling organization in the United States. Established in 1951, it consists of over 800 offices located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Not only does the NFCC offer credit counseling, they may also assist in bankruptcy counseling and important housing information, such as how to utilize home equity or how to prevent home foreclosure. The NFCC’s website states that being a member of the agency signifies “high standards for agency accreditation, counselor certification, and policies that ensure free or low-cost confidential services.” The NFCC also influenced the Credit CARD Act of 2009, which helps connect consumers to non-profit organizations and keep them away from possible scams.
Whenever you are seeking credit counseling, always look at non-profit agencies first. You should also check if they are accredited by a national organization. The NFCC has been around for 60 years, and its purpose is to give accurate and helpful information for those who are struggling with debt.
He played clarinet for the Marching Tar Heels in 2005 and 2006. He also volunteered for STV, the student-run television station at UNC-Chapel Hill, in the spring of 2010. He shot video, wrote scripts, and acted for “Off the Cuff,” UNC’s longest running sketch comedy show. He has the rare distinction of having lived in a dorm all four years of his undergraduate college career. He was also on Franklin Street on the night of April 4, 2009. His future plans are to pursue a master’s degree in journalism and to one day work for the media as a sports journalist or broadcaster.
Being one of eight children, David realizes finance is an important topic to everyone, regardless of his/her knowledge of the subject. His interests are in personal finance, budgeting, and savings.
In his spare time, David enjoys watching sports and standup comedy, as well as doing crossword puzzles and writing in the first person. He also thoroughly enjoys trivia and, one day, hopes to participate on the game show Jeopardy!, where he will try to break Ken Jennings’ 74-game win streak.