Don't Wait Too Long To Get Help With Money Problems

Too many people wait until they hit rock bottom before seeking help from credit counseling agencies, says a New York credit counseling service. The consequence is that consumers end up limiting “the options available to them without having to make major, and often very difficult lifestyle changes. If they wait too long, debt repayment plans become unaffordable—leaving them more vulnerable to losing assets or having to file bankruptcy.”

So how do you know when it’s time to ask for help? If your monthly payments are exceeding your monthly income, it’s probably a good time. To find an agency, check out wikiHow’s How To entry, and use this list provided by Bankrate to ensure the agency will be able to provide the services you need.

“Don’t wait too long to get credit help” [StarGazetteNews.com]

RELATED
“How to Choose a Credit Counseling Agency” [wiwiHow]
“12 questions to ask a potential credit counselor” [Bankrate]
Debt Free Today
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  1. ShortBus says:

    Credit counseling is a racket. Sure, there are good ones, but there are also many unscrupulous characters and organizations out there as well. In fact, you’ll find many debt collectors who also run a “credit counseling” side business.

    There isn’t much that that these guys do that you can’t do yourself. They don’t have special powers or even connections to creditors (despite what they claim). You can more effectively negotiate on your own with creditors–if you know how. It can be really hard to bite the bullet and summon the courage to finally look at your own credit report and begin repairing the damage. Trust me, I know first hand. But there is a wealth of information on the Internet and many, many encouraging people in the same situation to help you along. Google around for various consumer credit forums/messageboards.

    A bit more advice: Read, read, and read some more before you make your first move. There is a lot of tricks to learn about credit repair. The first tip I’ll give you is this: Paying your collection notices will *not* help your credit score. In many cases, it can actually be detrimental because it resets the statute of limitations on the debt and/or shows up as recent activity on the negative entry.

  2. XTC46 says:

    @ShortBus:

    “There isn’t much that that these guys do that you can’t do yourself”

    this can be said about any service. I COULD kill and butcher my own cows…but Id rather pay a butcher. The point is, these services are for convenience, education, and expertise. Not everyone knows how to consolidate debt, or how to create a budget for them selves, not everyone knows you can call a credit card company and ask for a lower rate and make deals to get stuff paid off faster.

    “statute of limitations on the debt” – since when is there a statue of limitation on debt? its not like it goes away if you don’t pay it. It just goes to collections. You can get the account “current” typically by making an arrangement for payment, so the debt will still be there, but it will not be over due anymore.

    People need to realize that “get rid of debt” and “fix my credit” are not the same thing. You can have no debt and have bad credit. Like any industry you will have good and bad people working in it, find a good one and they CAN help, find a bad one and you will probably be worse off (they don’t work for free so its another bill to pay)

  3. wring says:

    but where do you draw the line on codependence? sure it’s easy to borrow $100, $200 at a time from relatives, but what if they do it over and over again?

  4. DrGirlfriend says:

    The thing is, if your debts are greater than your income, then it’s likely you won’t know how to negotiate with your creditors. They are people who could use the education, however basic it may seem to some, that a good credit counselor could provide.

  5. KingPsyz says:

    I got lucky, I got myself a great job three years back and every month I would work on contacting everyone on my credit report and making arangements to pay the debt and in some cases have the neg acct removed completely.

    I was probablly in the high 400s 3 years ago and now I’m just shy of 700.

  6. Charles Duffy says:

    @xtc46: There’s a statute of limitations on enforceability of contracts. Between that and the credit record clearing old items after 7 years, yes, debt does effectively go away eventually.

  7. ShortBus says:

    @xtc46: Statute of limitations refers to how long a creditor has to file a lawsuit against you since you first went delinquent on an account. It varies from state to state (by a lot). See: [www.creditinfocenter.com] Once that expires, they have no legal way to force you to pay.

    I don’t think the butcher analogy is all that accurate. To me it doesn’t make much sense to hand all my debt over to some organization and say “Here. I got myself into this hole and now I don’t want to deal with it. You do it for me.” Approaching your personal finances like that is what gets most people into the situation that’s causing all the grief to begin with. Take a hands on approach so you can learn how not to do it again. Not to mention that sticking your head in the sand is a prime way to be taken advantage of. Some of these “credit counseling agencies” are merely collection agencies hiding behind a smile. Don’t take my word for it though… like I said, do your own research.

    “Credit” and “debt” may not be the same thing, but people don’t seek out credit counseling agencies because they’re in debt. Anyone with a car loan or mortgage is in debt. These organizations service people who don’t know how to manage their debt which leads to credit problems.

  8. BigNutty says:

    If your payments are more than your income it’s time to ask for help? Holy crap, where do these people come from with such brilliant advice.

    How about helping yourself? I understand this is a problem affecting many families, some not even their own fault, but wouldn’t you naturally call all your creditors and try to get some help with delayed or lower payments?

    There are so many credit counseling services advertising everywhere it’s hard not to see one to call and check out what they have to offer.

    Personally, I think they are for the weak minded. If you blew it with your credit you basically have two choices.

    1. Keep paying what you can to all your creditors.

    2. Screw it and start over in 7 years.

    Depending on if you own your own house or not would bring bankruptcy into the picture.

  9. FLConsumer says:

    @drgirlfriend: I’m still surprised by how many people don’t even realise they’re in trouble to begin with! I’ve had more than one friend who has thought all of their problems would go away if they ignored it…and kept spending money they didn’t have! I don’t understand it. When I try to help them, they give me a deer-in-the-headlights look when it comes to cutting back spending or picking up a 2nd job to get back on top of things. I’ll agree with Drgirlfriend on this one — these people REALLY could use an education on finances. If they had one, they probably wouldn’t have found themselves in this position.

  10. anatak says:

    In other news, many people wait far too long to buy a new gas grill, according to a local home improvement salesman.

    Credit counseling services are mostly clueless and useless. You’re not going to get through this life without some pain. Some people need to hit rock-bottom for reality to finally hit them. I’d prefer otherwise. You can reach out, but you can’t force someone to accept. Though I haven’t used them for credit counseling, I have used some of Dave Ramsey’s Endorsed Local Providers, and have always been impressed with their knowledge, methods and approach.

    Money truly is the last taboo and people do choose actions and inactions based out of fear, guilt and shame. We’re all human. We’ve all screwed up. We’ve all made mistakes with money. If you find you spend time worrying about your debt or finances, then its time to get help.

  11. RocktheDebit says:

    I’ve got nothing to add except that Money Management International/ Consumer Credit Counseling Services is probably the least tool-like of the bunch. My office sends people there for their credit counseling requirements.

  12. sarahp says:

    Who doesn’t have money problems now a days? It’s quite sad that as an economy we are in trouble with our monetary issues. It’s difficult to budget, cut back and save if you aren’t making a six to seven digit figure. The majority of the population does not make a three figure salary. I know I am pretty far from the six or seven figure salary and I can’t afford credit counseling, or anything like that. I know there’s free credit counseling but I don’t trust that, I don’t trust talking to some stranger about my money problems.

    I like to do things on my own, research things myself, fix and solve my own problems. I love to read so I am constantly at the book store and I went into the self help section and found this book, “Millionaire Zone.” It’s written by this woman, Jennifer Openshaw, she’s pretty high up in the business world and really knows her stuff. I learned a lot from her in this book just by flipping through the pages turning to the sections I could apply to my money problems. Sometimes you don’t need to seek outside help from a credit counselor or whoever, just try to figure it out on your own, use the resources that available all around you.