Over the last 5 years, the topic of “Debt Management” has continued to include more and more types of debt. From consumer credit card debt to debt consolidation and refinancing. Each of these topics can be quite complex and this article will not attempt to cover each in depth. What you will find here is a summary on the basics of debt management how to find further detailed information. (It must be noted that credit repair is a completely different subject and warrants that you pursue credit related resources).
So, what exactly is debt management and what are the basics that everyone should be aware of?
First, before we get started, it is important to note that debt management is different than bankruptcy (Chapter 13). Bankruptcy is reserved for situations in which a person is absolutely unable to re-pay their debt. People that have accumulated some debt but have a reasonable chance of repaying it should strongly favor debt management. In addition, the bankruptcy laws have changed in 2006 making it less desirable in certain situations. Comparing the two alternatives in detail is beyond the scope of this article. We strongly suggest you consult with an expert before making ANY kind of decision.
The foundation of any debt management effort is having a plan. As simple as that may sound, compiling a debt management plan can be the single most important step a person can take. And the best way to formulate a comprehensive plan is through the advice of a credit counseling agency.
Finding a good credit counselor can help you in several ways. As already noted, they can help you formulate a debt management plan. In addition, they can work with your creditors to help obtain more reasonable interest rates (on your debt) or extend the allowed time frame of re-paying the debt. Remember, credit counselors work with creditors every day and they know what works and how to best get you on a path of re-paying your debt.
There are two types of credit counseling agencies – “for-profit” and “non-profit” agencies. One type is not necessarily better than the other. The best way to find the right fit is to contact as many agencies as you can and explore your options. If you decide to go with a non-profit group, we suggest that you contact the National Foundation Consumer Credit (NFCC) to inquire if the agency is actually registered as non-profit. They can be reached at 1-800-388-2227. Also note, that a non-profit agency may still charge you nominal fees.
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