If you don’t have a lot of credit card debt, you might think that a credit counseling service may be of no use to you. However, that is most definitely not the case. In addition to helping those with credit card debt, credit counseling can help those who have student loan debt or have just emerged from a bankruptcy or those who may be filing for bankruptcy. They can even provide assistance to those looking to save money for a house (pre-purchase housing counseling) or just get their finances together in general and create a budget.
Let’s take a look at some of the other ways Credit Counseling can help you:
1. Credit Counselors Can Help With Student Loan Debt By Giving Free Advice –
Many student loan borrowers don’t know their options when it comes to repaying their balances or adjusting their repayment schedule with their current loan service provider. A credit counselor may be able to work with borrowers to tell them more about deferment options or how they may be able to enroll in an income-based repayment plan. Loan forgiveness may be available for those who teach or work in other humanitarian professions. Talking with a certified credit counselor can help borrowers understand all of their options and help relieve some stress and frustration at the same time.
2. Have You Just Gone Through A Bankruptcy –
While it sounds horrible, bankruptcy can actually be a useful tool for those who are way behind on their debts and have no way to pay them down in a reasonable amount of time. In bankruptcy, your debt may be fully discharged or reorganized to help debtors get a fresh financial start. However, it can have implications for an individual’s credit score and creditworthiness. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk to a certified credit counselor about ways to rebuild your credit or how to create a budget to better track and control spending.
If you are considering going through a bankruptcy you will need to take a pre-filing bankruptcy counseling session and also do a pre-discharge bankruptcy education course. These two things are required by the Federal Bankruptcy Law and you must give your bankruptcy Attorney the certificates you’ll receive after finishing each session so there’s proof you’ve completed them. A credit counseling agency can provide these two bankruptcy services and also issue the required certificates of completion.
3. Teach Your Children to Become Financially Savvy –
It isn’t just adults who can benefit from lessons in fiscal literacy. Research has shown that children who learn good financial habits at a young age tend to carry them into adulthood. This may make it easier for them to find an affordable path to a college education, teach them how to manage credit card debt or even help them learn about ways to start saving for a car or a house. It’s always a good idea to talk about saving money with your children so they can take care of their finances when they are adults and when they leave the house to live on their own.
4. Having Trouble Getting a Checking or Savings Account –
If past financial troubles led to bounced checks or overdrawn accounts, you may have a harder time getting a new bank account in the future. This is because you may be placed on a list like the one provided by ChexSystems. However, credit counseling agencies may offer a free service that can help you get off the blacklist or at least show banks that you have learned from past mistakes. While not offered everywhere, it can be a useful tool for those it is available to. Here’s some helpful info if you’ve been blacklisted by ChexSystems: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/blacklisted-by-chexsystems-what-to-know/
5. Are You Saving For a Home –
If you are saving for a home or want to learn more about how home ownership may impact your finances, a non-profit credit counselor can help with that as well. Such a service can explain the difference between traditional and government-backed loans such as FHA, USDA or VA loans. You may even learn about government grants and other programs that may help you make a down payment or contribute to any closing costs that you may incur. Knowing about and accounting for all costs related to owning a home ahead of time may help you create a realistic budget and find a home you can afford and truly enjoy living in. Most non-profit credit counseling agencies offer a service called Pre-Purchase Housing Counseling that will help with everything mentioned above. This is usually a free service and extremely valuable to anyone who is considering purchasing a new home.
Credit counseling is not just for those with credit card debt anymore. It is ideal for anyone who wants to learn more about paying down any type of debt or simply needs some guidance creating a budget, managing their finances properly, or otherwise solidifying their financial future. It may be especially helpful for anyone who hasn’t had a financial role model in their lives or has nowhere else to turn for specific and authoritative advice.
Advantage Credit Counseling Service is a national non-profit credit counseling agency that has successfully been assisting consumers with financial guidance and debt repayment needs since 1968. We’ve helped a wide range of consumers and many different people from all walks of life. You can help you too!