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How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Colorado

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In a Nutshell

Before you can confidently schedule a Colorado credit counseling session, you’ll need to choose a reputable nonprofit credit counseling organization to work with. You’ll need to do some research to find a nonprofit credit counseling agency in Colorado you can trust, and once you do, you’ll need to take a little time to gather financial documents to bring to your consumer credit counseling session.  

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl.  
Updated December 3, 2019


When you’re struggling with debt, or even if you’re “only” finding it difficult to meet your household expenses every month, it’s important to be proactive. Ignoring your financial challenges won’t solve them and may even make them worse. Understandably, you may not know how to begin readjusting your personal finances so that you can make progress regarding your short-term and long-term financial goals. Thankfully, many accredited, nonprofit credit counseling agencies in Colorado offer a free credit counseling session to anyone in need of financial guidance. This free session generally lasts from 45-60 minutes and may be accessed online or over the phone, depending on your preferences and the services offered by agency you’re interested in working with. During the session, an experienced credit counselor will ask you questions about your financial challenges, your income, expenses, debts, and financial goals. Your counselor will also review any financial paperwork you provide. At the end of your session, your counselor will provide you with recommendations for your next steps. Depending on your unique circumstances, your action plan may include a recommendation that you participate in additional debt counseling, bankruptcy counseling, a debt management plan, or debt consolidation. This is a no-risk process because the decision of whether to follow up on these recommendations or not is completely up to you. As long as you choose a reputable nonprofit credit counseling agency to work with, you should feel confident that the advice you’re given is worthy of your consideration. Although there are for-profit companies that scam credit counseling participants, working with an accredited, nonprofit company significantly limits the risk that you’ll be taken advantage of in any way. It’s important to understand that accredited, nonprofit companies generally don’t offer debt settlement services, as these are risky, difficult to complete successfully, and don’t offer the predictable benefits that additional financial counseling, debt consolidation, debt management plans, and bankruptcy often provide.

How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Colorado

Before you can confidently schedule a Colorado credit counseling session, you’ll need to choose a reputable nonprofit credit counseling organization to work with. You’ll need to do some research to find a nonprofit credit counseling agency in Colorado you can trust, and once you do, you’ll need to take a little time to gather financial documents to bring to your consumer credit counseling session. 


Find Colorado Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies

It’s important to work with a nonprofit credit counseling organization instead of a for-profit company. For-profit companies often care more about selling services to credit counseling services participants than they do about providing sound, personalized financial counseling. Strongly consider narrowing your search to nonprofit Colorado credit counseling organizations that are accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. These agencies are subject to scrutiny and oversight that for-profit companies aren’t. If you narrow your search in this way, you can feel confident about the personal finance recommendations you receive during your session. There is really no point in participating in a Colorado credit counseling session if you can’t trust the integrity of the action plan you receive at its conclusion.   

Information to Research Before Talking to a Colorado Credit Counseling Agency

Before you contact a nonprofit, accredited Colorado credit counseling organization to make an appointment, it’s a good idea to make sure that the agency you’re interested in hasn’t been in trouble recently for any questionable behavior. Even accredited organizations can slip up from time to time and you’ll want to make sure that the Colorado nonprofit organization you’ve chosen has an excellent record. Consider taking a few minutes to see if the Better Business Bureau, the Colorado state consumer credit unit, or the Colorado state attorney general has listed the organization as one that they receive a lot of complaints about. Once you’ve identified an agency that is trustworthy and meets your needs, it’s time to schedule your Colorado credit counseling session. 

Questions to Ask the Colorado Credit Counselor Before Signing Up

When you call to schedule your Colorado credit counseling session, it’s important to verify that the agency in question employs certified credit counselors and that your initial credit counseling session won’t cost you anything. If the agency tries to charge you for this first session or wants to schedule you with an uncertified credit counselor, you should schedule a session elsewhere. You’ll also want to ask where the session is taking place, how long the meeting will last, and what you should do to prepare for the meeting in advance. Because the organization you’re working with probably offers follow-up services, you should also ask if the agency can send you educational materials about their operations in advance of your meeting. If you have a sense of how the organization might be able to assist you moving forward (and how much that assistance will cost), you’ll be able to ask informed questions on this subject during your credit counseling session.

What to Expect During Credit Counseling?

Before you arrive for your credit counseling session, make sure to track down any financial documents that may help your credit counselor construct the most personalized action plan possible. The more that your credit counselor knows about your income, debts, expenses, and financial situation generally, the more personalized your credit counseling recommendations can be. Consider requesting a free copy of your current credit report and credit score in advance of your meeting, so that your counselor can see where your credit stands and a breakdown of your debts. Also, consider gathering recent bank statements, pay stubs, and tax returns for your counselor’s reference. Once you arrive, your counselor will review this paperwork and ask you questions about your finances. Your counselor will also ask you about your financial goals and challenges more broadly. At the end of your 45-60 minute session, you’ll receive your action plan.

What Happens After Credit Counseling in Colorado

Now that you have received personalized money management recommendations from an accredited credit counseling program, it’s time to put your action plan to good use. Whether you’ve been encouraged to explore additional debt counseling services, the process of filing for bankruptcy, debt consolidation, a debt management plan, or any other personal finance tools, it’s up to you to follow up on whatever recommendations you think could benefit you and your family.

Colorado Debt Consolidation

If you can reliably make debt payments, but you could benefit from a reduction in monthly fees, late fees, and/or interest hikes, your Colorado credit counselor may recommend that you consider debt consolidation. Most of the time, debt consolidation involves securing a loan that has little or no interest attached to it. It then serves as a bank transfer, so that you can pay the balance of your existing debts. Moving forward, you’ll simply make a monthly payment on that single debt instead of paying your existing medical bills, credit card debt, and student loan creditors separately.

Colorado Debt Management Plan

Sometimes, it can be beneficial to allow a certified credit counselor to negotiate debt repayment plans with your creditors on your behalf. Your Colorado credit counselor can potentially persuade your creditors to forgive fees, lower your interest rates, or partially forgive your principal as part of your repayment plans. Once your consumer credit counselor has negotiated terms, a debt management plan will be created. Instead of paying each of your creditors monthly, you’ll send a single payment to your Colorado credit counseling agency, that will pay your creditors according to the plan’s terms.

Colorado Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can seem like an extreme debt relief solution, however, it can allow you to achieve a fresh start if your debt is overwhelming and you don’t reliably earn enough that a debt management program or a debt consolidation plan makes sense for you. If your Colorado credit counselor has recommended that you receive bankruptcy counseling, make sure to inquire about both kinds of personal bankruptcy when you attend your counseling session. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a 3-5 year payment plan, whereas Chapter 7 bankruptcy erases eligible debts in as little as 90 days.



Written By:

Attorney Kassandra Kuehl

LinkedIn

Kassandra is a writer and attorney with a passion for consumer financial education. Outside of consumer law, she is focused on pro bono work in the fields of International Human Rights Law, Constitutional and Human Rights Law, Gender and the Law. Kassandra graduated from Universi... read more about Attorney Kassandra Kuehl

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