Credit Counseling: Get serious and don’t get burned

Did you see the  Undercover Investigation Into Debt Settlement Companies on Good Morning America this morning? I hope the investigation continues and companies like this are shut down. However, credit counseling is real and after a few quick searches on Google this morning, people are wrongly lumping all these companies together. There are legitimate companies out there designed to help you get back under control.

Some companies out there that exploit a loophole in the tax code to call themselves “tax exempt” and claim that they want to help you eliminate your debt.  Beware! Many consumers have complained that the money they paid in to the company never made it to their creditors, making their situation worse.

An example of someone who might use a credit counseling service would be one who has high interest rates and is struggling to make payments. By working with a legitimate counselor, you can often reduce your interest rates as low as zero, eliminate the late fees and get back on your feet again. They don’t make the debt go away, they help you manage it. You might turn $800 minimum payments ate high interest rates on multiple accounts turn into low or no interest rates with payments on $450 that attack your principal balance.

I am a prime example because I did this over 10 years ago. I struggled with a new business and found myself underemployed and needed help. I used a company called Credit Counselors of Charlotte who helped me lower my payments and I paid off my principal balances in about 2 years. Contact me if you have questions, I am happy to share my experience with you.

My father always told me “Son, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and a nickel beer.” He was right! But, there is help for those who need it. A quick search on Clark Howard’s website led me to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at NFCC.org or call 1-800-388-2227 and they can help you locate a legitimate company.