You have too many bills to pay and too little money at the end of the month. You may have even considered bankruptcy. It wasn’t supposed to be this way when you retire. A nonprofit credit counselor may help you get out of debt. A nonprofit credit counselor can be a valuable asset to anyone who has a lot of debt to pay off-including a Senior Citizen.
A nonprofit credit counselor will develop a plan that covers both payments to creditors to reduce your debt and your living expenses. He will examine ways to solve your current financial problems. The counseling sessions are often available at no charge and will be confidential. Much of the funding for the nonprofit credit counseling agencies comes from companies who will receive money from those paying off debts. The companies support the counseling agencies. A credit counseling agency can be a valuable tool for anyone with a lot of debt, including a Senior Citizen.
The credit counselor may be able to work out a debt repayment plan for you. You would be required to deposit money each month with the credit counseling agency. The deposits will be used to pay your creditors according to a payment schedule that has been developed with you. It might be possible that not all of your creditors will choose to participate. You would have to pay off those companies separately.
You should consider several things when choosing a credit counseling agency. Will there be any charge for the help you will receive? In many cases there will not be. In some cases there may be a fee of about $15.
You may wonder who regulates credit counseling agencies. Which government agency regulates such an agency can vary from state to state. The Council on Accreditation accredits many such credit counseling agencies.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling requires its member agencies to certify counselors through its organization. Because of that, you could find out if a credit counseling agency is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. That way you will have a better idea of whether a credit counseling agency and its counselors are reliable. In addition, counselors are certified through the Association for Financial Planning and Planning Education’s Accredited Financial Counselor exams. It might be good to know whether or not a credit counseling agency is reputable, because there are a lot of people in the world who will attempt to take advantage of anyone in debt, including Senior Citizens.
You should make certain that all of your counseling sessions are confidential.
Your credit counselor will do more than try to help you out of your current financial problems. He will also work out a budget to help you manage your money in the future.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help you choose a good credit counselor. The government agency warns that although there are many nonprofit agencies that will work with you to help solve your debt problems, not all credit counseling agencies are free, affordable, or even legitimate.
The majority of credit counseling agencies offer services to help people reduce their debt on the Internet, on the phone, or through local offices. As a result, they can be convenient. The FTC recommends that you find a credit counseling agency that offers in person counseling services. Many branches of the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service, universities, military bases, credit unions, and housing authorities offer free credit counseling services. Other good sources of finding credit counseling services are friends and family, your local consumer protection agency, and your local financial institution.
In addition to advising you on your money and helping you develop a budget, a credit counseling agency usually offers free educational materials and workshops. Your first counseling session will usually last about an hour, and more sessions may be suggested. Most reputable credit counseling agencies will also mail information to you about their services. If an agency will not do that, you should maybe consider not using that company’s services.
There are other things you can do to be certain you have a reputable credit counseling agency. You can check out agencies with the Better Business Bureau, your state attorney general, and your local consumer protection agency. In addition, the United States Trustee Program keeps a list of credit counseling agencies that have been approved to provide pre-bankruptcy counseling.
It can be a scary thing for anyone who has more debts than he can seemingly pay, especially a Senior Citizen, but a credit counseling agency might be the solution for you.