Credit Counseling: The Basics

By: John Porter

With large-scale consumerism and an increase in the spending power, our generation is seeing debt levels which were unimaginable a few decades back. Earlier people spent their entire lives without incurring any debt. At the most it might be their mortgage. But things have changed so much now. Having debt is not an issue today. Even high school students carry credit cards. But the problem has been that although today there are literally hundreds of avenues from where you can take a loan, but very little has been done in trying to educate people on how to handle credit.

With today's plastic money it is all to easy just sign and make purchases. For that moment you are not perturbed about the bill that will be on its way. But the fact is that the bill is inevitable and you will have to pay for your purchases at one point of time. And as your credit adds up with every purchase it becomes increasingly difficult for you to recover when the bill finally arrives. And to top that there is also the interest that you will have to pay which is often quite high in case of credit cards.

Ideally, the credit counselor should first analyze and understand your credit situation, draw up a workable solution for you to get rid of your debts and then motivate you towards reaching your objective. This is the primary responsibility of a good credit counselor. It is one thing to negotiate the interest rates, but to actually help you focus on the goals ahead and keep you on track is what separates an ordinary credit counselor from a good one.

Credit counseling agencies have negotiators who will negotiate for you with the creditor. When you are deep in debt and you have failed to make payments to your creditors for a few successive months, your creditor also becomes apprehensive. They can of course drag you to court for default in payment. But if you are really not in a position to pay back the loan with the interest, then there is hardly any gain for your creditor. You will have to declare that you are bankrupt but the creditor wouldn't gain anything out of that.

The credit counselors try to find a middle path. They negotiate with your creditors so that the creditors relax the interest rates slightly so that it becomes easier for you to pay back. The creditors opt for this because they get their capital back with some interest and they don't have to go to the court and drag the matter on.

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