Many people seek out credit counselors to help them sort out their financial woes. If you are having trouble making ends meet, it
is wise to spend a little time evaluating the counselors available to you. Not all credit counselors have your best interests in
mind when they analyze and develop your repayment plan, so it is best to insure that you are working with a reputable counselor.
The best way to get started is to check with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) to locate member agencies in your
local area. The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) is another organization whose members
follow the highest standards in providing credit counseling. Members of these associations complete a rigorous accreditation
process overseen by several independent third-party organizations, which perform detailed reviews of the operating practices
of the agencies and the quality of their counseling.
After you find an agency you are comfortable with, you need to know about all of the services they can provide. Of course,
you would expect to get budgeting help and debt reduction advice, but many agencies also assist you with negotiations with
your creditors. They are often able to reduce or eliminate late fees, modify the term of your loan, or find a better interest
rate. Ask about free services and information available and be sure you understand the fee structure for any service before
you sign up for anything.
A good credit counselor can help you get on the path to financial stability, but you should realize that there is nothing magical
about their service. Most of the things they can do for you, you can do for yourself. However, if you donít have the time or
discipline to devote to financial planning, you should get the help you need from a qualified professional. Good planning today
can change the way you live your life later.
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