If you're to the point where you're having trouble making ends meet financial speaking or are consistently making payments to all of your bills late then perhaps you should consider consumer credit counseling. Paying a bill late once in a blue moon is not a life stopping event (although I don't recommend it due to the adverse effect on your credit score) however if you are unable to pay your bills (to include the minimum payments) or always pay them late then consumer credit counseling will indeed help get you out of a financial jam and prevent creditors from harassing you on a daily basis.
The benefits of credit counseling manifest from the ideas and advice they give you in regards to managing your debt properly. The biggest learning factor provided by a reputable consumer credit counseling agency will be knowledge they present you with in order to bring a more disciplined financial environment into your life resulting in less stress in terms of your current financial shape.
Before signing up with the first credit-counseling agency you find please make sure to do your research. Although many of the companies are reliable and trustworthy there are a few that give the industry a bad name. Most of the legitimate companies offer their services for a small up front fee. Definitely avoid any that offer to settle your debts for free or with only a small upfront payment of $75 to $90. Most of the companies that fall in that category usually wind up as unreliable and are only good for taking your hard earned money with zero return on investment. You can verify the legitimacy of a consumer credit counseling agency by checking to see if they are registered with the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agency or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Both of these companies will have reputable counseling agencies as registered members.
Another benefit of using a consumer credit counseling agency is their ability to keep the companies you owe money to off of your back while you make minimum payments to them. A trustworthy counseling firm will take your payment and then forward it to the creditor you owe money to allowing you to focus on learning how to avoid future financial crisis and issues.
Don't let the horror stories of how people have been burned utilizing a credit counseling service. If you do your due diligence you will be able to find a fair company that will help you manage your debts better while maintaining your reputation with your current and future creditors. Always make sure the counseling company is on your side and doesn't view you as a consumer that is delinquent with their credit. Their fair representation of you should include them acknowledging you as an individual interested in credit counseling to your creditors.
One small disclaimer should be noted. Although in most cases consumer credit counseling does work well at helping a person climb out of financial distress it is no substitute for a huge amount of debt. With that said you should know that if your current debt is so high that it requires you to consider filing bankruptcy then no credit counseling firm will be able to help you avoid the inevitable.
Timothy Gorman is a successful Webmaster and publisher of Debt-Relief-Solutions.com. He provides more debt consolidation advice, solutions and counsumer credit counseling information that you can research in your pajamas on his website.