Credit Counseling

For many Americans, credit card debt is a part of everyday life. According to an April 2009 Nilson report, the average American household carried $8,329 of credit card debt in 2008. However, consumer debt and interest can add up quickly, get out of control, and leave you with many unanswered questions. But getting out of debt is not a hopeless cause.

There are circumstances like job loss and unexpected medical expenses that can lead to unmanageable debt. But more often than not, debt problems, particularly credit card debt, arise from not understanding personal finance and not having a manageable budget. When debt gets out of control, counseling is often needed to develop a system to pay your debts, save money and live without acquiring more credit card debt. Regardless of how your finances become unbalanced, you could benefit from legitimate credit counseling if you are:

  • paying bills late or have to pick and choose which bills to pay
  • spending all of your income without adding to savings in order to help cover expenses that would otherwise be financed later
  • making the minimum monthly payments due to creditors
  • behind on payments
  • sinking deeper into debt
  • considering bankruptcy

Credit counseling does not mean debt settlement and it should not hurt your credit score. Be sure to do your research when choosing a counseling company. There are many legitimate companies out there, but there are also companies who exist solely to take your money. Watch out for steep fees and look for accreditation with organizations like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA).