Making the decision to enroll in a debt management program takes a great amount of thought. There are numerous organizations with the label of debt management so you will want to do your homework to ensure that you are choosing the right program for you.
It is important to work with someone you feel comfortable with. A debt management program is a very good option for people who feel like they are getting nowhere or that they are drowning in debt. If you are close to going bankrupt, you might want to consider debt management instead. The same can be said about people considering consolidation.
While consolidation moves your debt around, it does not guarantee you will be getting rid of the debt. With a debt management program, you have the ability to pay one payment and allow your debt manager to pay off the numerous bills you had before. This works in your favor because your counselor talks to your credit card companies on your behalf and has the ability to get your interest rates drastically lowered or reduced. One of the main reasons people are unable to pay off their credit cards is because of mounting interest rates, so this alone can shave thousands off of your debt.
If you have considered your options and are looking into a debt management program, the following steps will explain the process of enrolling in a program to manage your debt.
- Request a free consultation – The first thing you will be doing on your quest to join a debt management program will be to request a free consultation. During this consultation, you will have a chance to speak about all of your debt. If you are doing this on the phone, you should have all your bills nearby or you should take them with you. The debt counselor will need to know who you owe, how much you owe, and the interest rates for your bills.
While they may need to know more information, each company is different. This means that there will be slight variations in what information they are going to ask you to provide. You will have a chance to talk to the counselor and learn your options. If you do not feel comfortable, the consultation is free, and you do not have to sign anything or commit in any way. If you realize you are not suited for that particular organization, you can always change your mind and look for another company. You should never sign anything if you have doubts.
- Discuss your options in detail – If you are certain that you want to sign with a particular company, you will begin to discuss your financial situation in a greater amount of detail. You may find that you need counseling more so than you do standard debt management. Credit counseling, where the counselor helps you learn to stop spending or to spend in a wiser fashion, may be all you need. This will be the point when you make that decision and see if the debt management program is going to be beneficial to you.
- Making the decision and determining a payment – Once you have decided if a standard debt management program is right for you, your counselor will be able to provide you with an estimate of your monthly payment that should be much lower than what you are used to paying. This will give you the option of paying an additional amount if you wish or spending your extra money in other ways. Either way, your debt counselor will be able to give you a monthly price for your bills and a date when you will be paid off if you are paying on time every month.
- Signing the agreement – Once you have determined terms you can afford, an agreement will be drafted up for you to sign. This agreement will explain when you should pay your bills, how you should pay them, and information concerning late fees and payoff information. It is important that you read this contract before you sign it. You need to understand everything in the contract before you just sign your name and agree to something you do not fully understand.
- Begin payments – Once you have signed your contract, your debt counselor will fill you in on payments. Some debt management firms will allow you to pay by Internet and others will send you a payment book and require a check or money order as payment. Either way it is imperative that you make each payment as agreed. If you had poor credit prior to joining a debt management company, this will help your credit score considerably as your debt begins to shrink.
For a person who has more debt than she can handle, a debt management company can be a lifesaver. Make sure you do your homework and choose a reputable company that you can trust. If you are unfamiliar with a company, check the Better Business Bureau or ask friends and family that have experience with debt management firms about their experiences.