The best debt and savings advice for 5 age groups

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Credit counselors see the best and worst of consumer financial behavior — the worst when they need to work out solutions to burdensome debt problems and the best when those people become financially stable.

Financial counselors educate and support people in every income bracket and every age group, so we asked credit counselors from around the country for their best tips for different life stages to pre-empt the need for their debt relief services in the future.

While many credit counseling tips cross over from one age to another, one counselor says the No. 1 question she is asked by people from every age group is: “How can I fix my credit?”

“I tell them to take care of their bills, and their credit score will take care of itself,” says Linda Smith, director of Douglas Consumer Credit Counseling in Roseburg, Oregon. “Being responsible by paying bills on time means that they don’t end up in collection, which does hurt your credit score.”