Chapter 4: Seeking debt help
If you’ve tried to reduce your debt and still can’t, maybe it’s time to seek outside help.
The ads for credit counselors are rampant on TV, radio and the Web. If your debt is unmanageable, you don’t want to compound the problem by choosing a poor credit counselor. In this chapter, you’ll learn what the signs of serious trouble are, how to interview a counselor before you hire one, the myths about debt consolidation, and how a debt-management program might affect your credit.
15 signs of serious debt trouble
Even if you aren’t in debt trouble now, answering these questions could help you head off trouble down the road.
How to choose a debt counselor
What accreditation should a counselor have? What is a “nonprofit” counseling agency? What are their fees? Answers you need before you choose a counselor.
12 questions to ask a potential credit counselor
If your counselor makes a mistake, your credit suffers. These are the questions you should ask when you meet with a counselor.
FAQ about debt and credit counseling
All the answers are here — from e-mails that promise to eliminate debt to the length of time it will take to pay off the debt. Plus, links to our calculators.
10 debt-consolidation myths
Debt management programs, credit counselors and bankruptcy filing are just a few of the myths we explode here.
How debt management plans affect your credit
We look at the effects on your FICO score and your ability to get new credit, and show you how to monitor the debt counselor to be sure your bills are paid.