In today’s “easy credit” world, both individuals and families too often fail to notice a gradual increase in the ratio of monthly debt payments to the money left over after paying necessary living expenses. Suddenly they find that they need to take on additional debt each month to just stay afloat. Humiliating calls from collection agencies add to the stress. In desperation, many reach out to the first “painless quick fix scheme” the advertizing media brings to their attention. The long-term results of these hasty decisions are often disastrous.
The good news is that there really are many excellent Pennsylvania debt consolidation companies. The trick is to find the one that is best for you.
A well run debt consolidation program connects you with a professional counselor who works with you to understand how you got into debt, and how much you actually owe (including interest payments). The counselor then recommends a budget that covers reasonable living costs, and still provides a set amount for debt consolidation payments. The counselor will take the time to make sure you understand the importance of sticking to your new budget, and may refer you to sources of additional financial management assistance and training. The debt consolidator then negotiates payment terms with each creditor so that the combined payments fit your budget, and pays each one on your behalf from a single payment you make to the debt consolidation company.
If you think that a debt consolidation program might be right for you, finding the right program from the many available is the first important step.
Get Started Finding The Right Pennsylvania Debt Consolidation Company:
Allow yourself plenty of time to select the best Pennsylvania debt consolidation company for your needs. The decision you make will have repercussions for years to come.
- Get referrals for both reputable debt consolidation companies, and also for experienced individual counselors working for any of the recommended firms. Friends, relatives, or a local non-profit consumer credit counseling organization, are all useful sources of referrals.
- For each recommended debt consolidation company, write down whatever publicly available information you can gather on costs and payment terms for debt consolidation and other services. Other services to look for are money management classes, take home budget management aids, and planned follow-up visits. Use an individual sheet of paper for each recommended company. Then call or visit each company to verify the information you have collected.
- As you approach a final decision, check to see which companies measure the quality of their service by conducting follow-up contacts with clients at specific intervals after services are delivered, and recording the results of those follow-up contacts.
- And finally, make sure that the company you choose agrees to assign you to one of the recommended counselors you identified at the beginning of the process, or at least agrees to let you select a qualified counselor with whom you will feel comfortable sharing personal information.
What to Watch Out For When Selecting a Pennsylvania Debt Consolidation Company:
Here are some things to watch out for to reduce the chances of becoming one of the millions of people for whom the decision to sign up for debt consolidation ends up making a bad situation far worse:
- Blanket “guarantees” of specific outcomes offered before examination of your debt situation
- Unwillingness to provide a comprehensive fee schedule, or asking for a high initial cash payment
- Evidence that debt consolidator compensation is commission based
- Failure to provide a clear and specific disclosure document identifying potential downsides of debt consolidation
- High pressure sales tactics
- Unwillingness or inability to provide information on the aggregate success rate of prior clients seeking to get out of debt
- A very short track record. (The firm you are looking at may be completely legitimate, but remember that the debt consolidation business has always attracted its share of unscrupulous operators. It may take months or years for regulators to weed them all out.)
Once You Have Selected A Pennsylvania Debt Consolidation Company:
A few things to remember once you begin the process:
- Make sure you fully disclose all of your debt obligations, even if doing so causes some personal embarrassment.
- Be honest about your future earnings expectations, and the degree of confidence you have in those expectations.
- Make sure you and your family understand the budget proposed by the debt consolidator. If the budget is unrealistically tight, and you subsequently fail to live within it, your debt consolidation plan will not work.
- Take the time to be sure you understand every sentence in your debt consolidation agreement before signing. Legitimate debt consolidators will appreciate your willingness to ask questions.
- Take full advantage will of all the financial management training opportunities recommended by your debt consolidator.
- If your financial circumstances change for better or worse during the course of the debt consolidation program, be sure to let the debt consolidation company know. Temporary or long-term changes in the plan might be called for.