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Credit Counseling Foundation - Using Credit Counseling as the Foundation for Success

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Using Credit Counseling as the Foundation for Success

In these times of economic uncertainty, mounting personal debt, and hard-to-get credit, seeking out a financial advisor or credit counselor is essential if the goal is to not just survive but to thrive. Find a trusted financial counselor to help you answer your credit questions and put smart money management skills to work for you by considering credit counseling as your foundation for future prosperity.

As an extra set of eyes, a credit counselor is able to help you see the big picture. Without this expert on your side, you are much too close to the situation to be able to look at things objectively. A trained financial advisor can help you understand the many options that are available to you and keep you from doing any major debt damage.

You won’t need to do a lot of preparation before contacting the counselor. In fact, all you really need to do is introduce yourself and explain your situation briefly. The counselor will then schedule you for an appointment and tell you exactly what you need to do. During credit counseling, it’s important to remember that the first few meetings are laying that first foundation level of trust and transparency. Tell your credit counselor everything about your financial situation. Turn over all your financial records, receipts and contracts. Expenses that you consider insignificant – purchases such as a daily newspaper or a triple espresso on the way to work in the morning – may be helpful in giving your counselor an accurate view of your spending habits. The more information you give, the better equipped your counselor will be to help you.

Be open to suggestions and new ways of looking at your finances as you go through credit counseling. Your advisor may suggest strategies and solutions that you’ve never considered before, or that you don’t really want to consider. For example, he may suggest cutting back on that triple espresso, or even selling your second car and learning to live with just one in the family. Do not be offended if, during credit counseling, your counselor says things that seem critical of your past dealings or decisions. The brutal truth is that you’ve made your share of financial mistakes – but then, so have many people. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, just in need of some enlightenment. What matters is that you are making the right choice in seeking credit counseling, in laying a sound foundation for a brighter financial future.

Ask as many questions as it takes to help you understand the strategies your counselor suggests. After all, you are the one who has to put those strategies into action. If you don’t understand why your advisor is asking you to do something, say so. Get an explanation that makes sense to you. When it comes to your finances, the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask.

One of the first things a credit counselor will do is ask you to make a list of all your monthly expenses to determine a realistic budget from which you will live. Your counselor will then help you prioritize your loans and financial responsibilities. After some basic decisions are made, such as who gets paid how much and how much can be invested or saved, the next step is to create a budget that sets aside enough of your monthly incomes to cover your expenses and start paying off debt. The important thing a good credit counselor will emphasize, however, is that a budge works only if you commit yourself to it.

To achieve or maintain a good credit rating, staying current on outstanding debt is priority. At some point during credit counseling, you will likely be given strategies to adequately answer those creditors who are getting impatient on outstanding balances. One strategy may include personally contacting the account manager of each of your loans, faxing each creditor a copy of your budget and your payment plan, and explaining how much you can afford to pay each month and how much time you need to pay off the loan.

Knowing what to expect when it comes to credit counseling is almost as important as actually seeking the advice. By taking a counselor’s advise to heart, and practicing what is preached, premium credit ratings are just around the corner.

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