Getting Help With Credit Management

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Finance | 0 comments

Many families struggle with debt, but they often don’t know how to go about getting the help with debt that they need. Debt counseling, also called credit counseling or credit management counseling, is often provided by non-profit organizations dedicated to helping families balance their budgets and build solid financial foundations for their future.

How Debt Counseling Works

Debt counseling involves sitting down or getting on the phone with a professional and going over your financial situation. Generally this includes your budget, five-year financial plan (if you have one), debt profile, investment strategy and savings plan. The goal is to identify areas where you can save more money, put more money toward reducing your debts as part of a debt management plan, and make smarter decisions about your debts. A debt counselor may also give you tips on how you can take advantage of assistance programs to create more space in your budget for savings.

Many debt counselors are also debt consolidation providers, like Credit Guard of America. Many consumers can benefit from consolidating their debts. It is the sort of long-term tactic that could end up saving you thousands of dollars, especially if you carry a lot of high-interest debts. Your debt counselor will help you determine if debt consolidation is a smart move for you or if you can just raise the amount of money you need pay towards your debts every month.

Once your budget is lean and tight, your debt counselor will talk with you about your financial future. Money is almost always tied up in dreams or visions for one’s family. For instance, homeownership, college and retirement are all important events that you need to save money for. Certain practices can help you improve your credit score to make those goals easier to achieve; your debt counselor will go over these with you.

Where to Find a Debt Counselor

There are many different credit and debt counseling organizations available to people across the country. Some counselors work as individuals out of a private office while others work with non-profit agencies in communities throughout the country. Still others work at for-profit business organizations. You may be able to find debt counseling online, over the phone or in person, depending on your preference. So why not look into a debt counseling service today?

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Credit Cards: How Good Intentions Go Awry

Posted by on Dec 3, 2013 in Finance | 0 comments

piggy bank

People who have never been in serious debt often scoff at those who find themselves racked with credit card payments. But the truth is that many of us never learned good credit management skills. They certainly don’t provide much financial education in either high school or college, so lacking the know-how to stay out of debt is understandable, if not common. So whether you’re new to consumer credit or you want to turn a bad credit history around, here are some pitfalls to watch out for.

  •  Signing Bonuses: Most credit card companies now offer some sort of enrollment bonus to attract new customers. You may think you’re being frugal and wise by taking advantage of these bonuses, but be careful where you sign. Watch where you step. Read the fine print and see if there are spending thresholds attached to the benefits. Make sure you’re not going to put yourself into debt trying to cash in your signing bonus.  Not only will you potentially find yourself further into debt, but you might also be sabotaging your credit management plan.
  • Avoiding Annual Fees: Another reason to watch out for signing bonuses is because they’re often associated with cards that come with annual fees. These fees hit you every 12 months, and often at the very time when you can’t afford them. As an avoidance tactic, some people develop a strategy: spend enough on a card to get the bonus, and drop the card before the annual fee kicks in. Although this may sound good in theory, this plan for attack can actually severely damage your credit score. The key to raising your credit score is to build long-term accounts in good standing with your credit card company.  Not only will nurturing a relationship with your credit card company result in your credit score, you will also learn credit management skills necessary to maintain a debt free lifestyle.
  • Endlessly Transferring: Credit card companies have had a lot of success with pushing balance transfer offers. According to CreditGuard, if you’re sure you can make a transfer and pay off the balance before the introductory rate period ends, it might be a wise thing to do. However, if you find yourself bouncing your balance from one offer to the next, it is probably time to look for help. Debt consolidation services not only roll your credit accounts into a single bill, but these services also help you save money, learn essential credit management skills, reduce interest rates and minimize the time it takes to repay your debt.
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