Credit Counseling Resources Available in Your State
Licensed credit counseling organizations are prepared to help you rebound from your current financial situation. Credit counseling involves meeting with you in person or by phone to discuss any problems that you are experiencing with your credit and your debt.
Credit counseling agencies in this directory have agreed to meet the following minimum requirements:
- Public service
- Counselor accreditation
- Counselor training and retraining
Some agencies are for-profit while others may be non-exempt nonprofit organizations. Most are tax-exempt nonprofit charities that are recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. These credit counseling agencies will be able to match you with a qualified and trained counselor that has been certified by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) or the Council on Accreditation (COA). Each agency is required to abide by industry standards.
Some agencies serve a very small community. Others may serve a number of states, combining in-person counseling with telephone and internet counseling. Feel free to call and speak with a counselor before committing to a session. Counselors are prepared to answer common questions and they can comment on any unique circumstances that you find yourself in.
One thing you will want to look for is the quality of counseling provided. These agencies do not simply provide debt management plans. On the contrary, their goal is to first find ways for you to get back on track on your own.
What sets these organizations apart is their commitment to public service and education. Rather than simply focusing on your debt, these accredited counselors will review your entire financial situation.
It is not enough to simply look at just one aspect of your financial situation. The experienced counselors at reputable agencies examine all aspects of your finances. They pay attention to your income, fixed and variable expenses, net worth and credit health. That way, they can identify potential options that can help you improve your current situation.
What may be most important is that the most experienced counselors will not judge you or lecture you on proper spending habits. You can go into a counseling session knowing that they are there to listen. They want to know what is important to you, what you feel you are capable of and what you are willing to let them help with.
You can feel good about opening up to your counselor because your conversation is confidential. No friend, neighbor, family member or creditor may gain any access to information shared in your counseling session without your express written permission. They cannot share details of your session with anyone unless you specifically authorize such contact.
The result is that you can get friendly, knowledgeable and unbiased help without committing to any one option. Your counselor can discuss the pros and cons of self-guided strategies, debt management plans, debt settlement, sale of property and even bankruptcy. If you are having trouble with secured debts such as auto loans and home mortgages, then they can normally help you understand options related to those types of debts as well.
To find a reputable nonprofit organization that can help with your financial situation, begin by selecting your state.