Debt Expert for When Debt Has You Down
Worried about your debt? Don’t see a psychologist — go get professional help. Just as a doctor mends physical ailments, a professional debt expert will alleviate your fiscal woes.
Debt experts operate like any trusted advisor would. You discuss your financial situation with them and they make recommendations on how to budget more effectively so you can affordably manage your debt. The ultimate goal is to repair your credit rating and enable you to live debt free.
When to talk to a debt expert
You don’t necessary have to be in deep debt to seek out the services of a debt expert. You can benefit from expert advice even if you are meeting your debt obligations every month and feel comfortable with your debt load. The basic purpose is to help you maintain a workable budget so you don’t fall into massive debt. That’s a service everyone can use at some time in his or her life.
However, there are several red flags that indicate it might be time to visit with a debt professional:
- You cannot pay the monthly minimums on credit cards and are falling further behind in your payments.
- You have maxed out the credit limits on your credit cards.
- You are being barraged by collection agency calls.
- Your total debt payments, excluding mortgage and car loans, range between one-quarter and one-half of your after-tax income.
What a debt expert can do for you
No matter where you go to seek advice (i.e. credit counseling, debt settlement company, etc.), a debt expert will work with you to create a structured financial plan to pay down your debts. Working with a professional will help you to devise a budget to meet your debt obligations each month.
Each form of debt help will include an initial consultation, and then scheduled follow-up sessions if you so choose. Certain third party companies will typically offer free workshops and educational materials to you as resources. Also, merely seeing a debt professional has no negative impact on your credit score.
How to choose your debt expert
When it comes to making a decision on which company to go choose as your option for debt relief, you should look for a reputable company with proven results. Before choosing a debt relief company do the following:
Check the company’s credentials. Start with the International Association of Professional Debt Arbitrators to learn if the company is in good standing. In addition, contact your state attorney general, local consumer protection agency, and Better Business Bureau to discover if any complaints have been filed against the agency.
Ask about fees. Shop around for the lowest fee. Beware an company touting “voluntary” fees that it later pressures you into paying. A reputable debt relief company is transparent about what it charges its clients.
Review the company’s offerings. A good debt relief company offers a variety of debt-easing services. If the company only gives you one option for debt relief, you should consider that a red flag and check out other available options.
Inquire about the debt professional’s credentials. You want to work with an accredited company trained by a non-affiliated party. If their experts aren’t accredited by a respected outside organization, then ask about their education and training for the role. Furthermore, ask how their debt professionals are paid and for what services. Are they paid a flat fee, or do they receive extra compensation for signing you up for more services? Sometimes debt consultants are paid a commission for putting you into a debt relief program so they may have an extra incentive to push that service.
Make sure your financial information is secure. Since you’ll be divulging private financial information to the expert, you should request the agency not distribute or sell that information to a third-party without your permission.
Get it in writing. Get any verbal promises in writing. Then, carefully read any written contract before signing it.
Walk away from the hard sell. If the company is aggressively pushing a debt relief plan as your only option or any “get out of debt quick” scheme, walk away.
Getting out of debt requires patience, discipline, and hard work. Seeking outside help can be a good choice for those struggling with debt or would just like a little advice on their personal finances.