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How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Connecticut

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In a Nutshell

Before you commit to a free Connecticut credit counseling session, you’ll need to do some research to identify the consumer credit counseling organization that will best fit your needs. Once you find a reputable Connecticut nonprofit organization that seems like a good fit, you’ll want to ask that agency a few questions so you can prepare for (and fully take advantage of) your financial counseling session.

Written by Attorney Kassandra Kuehl.  
Updated December 3, 2019


If you’re struggling to manage your expenses or you’re having trouble managing your debt, know that you can benefit from informed financial advice at no cost. Many nonprofit credit counseling agencies in Connecticut offer a free consumer credit counseling session to anyone who can benefit from informed financial guidance. Generally, a free Connecticut credit counseling session will last anywhere from 45-60 minutes. While it can be especially helpful to speak with a Connecticut credit counselor in-person, some credit counseling organizations offer personal finance sessions over the phone or online for those who can’t (or prefer not to) meet face-to-face. When you meet with a Connecticut credit counselor, you’ll be asked about your income, expenses, debt, financial goals, and any financial problems you may be struggling with. At the end of your counseling session, your Connecticut credit counselor will provide you with a personalized action plan. This action plan will contain informed recommendations for “next steps” toward achieving your financial goals. If you could benefit from lower monthly payments to your creditors, fewer monthly fees or late fees, a streamlined approach to debt repayment, or debt relief, your counselor may recommend that you explore additional debt counseling, a debt management plan, debt consolidation, or bankruptcy counseling. Whether you ultimately choose to follow these recommendations is completely up to you. It’s important to choose nonprofit credit counseling services accredited by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling as for-profit companies are more likely to try to “sell” debt settlement services that are often very risky and don’t guarantee benefits for participants. By contrast, nonprofit credit counseling agencies across the United States that are accredited by the NFCC and employ certified credit counselors provide financial guidance that seeks to support consumers, not the bottom line of an organization. As a result, scheduling a Connecticut credit counseling from a reputable, accredited agency is usually a worthwhile investment of time and energy.

How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Connecticut

Before you commit to a free Connecticut credit counseling session, you’ll need to do some research to identify the consumer credit counseling organization that will best fit your needs. Once you find a reputable Connecticut nonprofit organization that seems like a good fit, you’ll want to ask that agency a few questions so you can prepare for (and fully take advantage of) your financial counseling session.


Find Connecticut Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies

You may benefit from beginning your search for a reputable nonprofit Connecticut credit counseling agency by searching specifically for organizations accredited by the NFCC. As accredited, nonprofit organizations are the most likely to approach financial education in ways you can trust, narrowing your search from the start to organizations that fit these criteria is generally a good idea. Also make sure that any organizations that catch your eye employ certified credit counselors, offer a free introductory credit counseling session to new participants, and have educational materials about their services available for your review.   

Information to Research Before Talking to a Connecticut Credit Counseling Agency

Once you’ve found a Connecticut credit counseling organization or two you believe might fit your needs, it’s important to do a little more research before scheduling a free credit counseling and money management session. Just because an organization is accredited doesn’t mean it can’t experience challenges from time to time. It’s therefore a good idea to make sure the accredited organizations that interest you don’t have significantly negative Better Business Bureau ratings and that the Connecticut state attorney general and/or consumer protection agency haven’t alerted the public to any “red flags” related to their operations. Researching whether the organization you want to work with has earned a stellar reputation will allow you to trust in the advice you receive during your Connecticut credit counseling session.  

Questions to Ask the Connecticut Credit Counselor Before Signing Up

Now that you’re confident in the reputation of the organization you’ve chosen to work with, it’s time to call or go online and schedule your Connecticut credit counseling session. When scheduling your session, make sure to confirm the expected duration of your meeting, the location where you’ll be meeting with your credit counselor, and what documents you should bring along to your session. Now is also a good time to ask for the organization’s introductory educational materials. These reference sheets should give you a better sense of how the agency operates, what kinds of post-counseling services it provides (and the cost of those services), and what to expect from your free credit counseling session.

What to Expect During Credit Counseling

Before you arrive for your credit counseling session, take a little time to get your important financial documents in order. You’ll want to bring recent financial paperwork with you so that your credit counselor can get a snapshot of your current financial situation. For example, your credit counselor will benefit from knowing your credit score. By requesting a free copy of your credit report in advance of your meeting, you’ll be able to share both this score and a list of your current debts with your credit counselor. Whether you’re struggling with student loans and credit card debt or your credit is nearly perfect and you’re newly struggling to make ends meet, your credit counselor will benefit from seeing what your credit breakdown looks like. You’ll also want to bring in recent bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, and any other documents that will help your credit counselor give you personalized recommendations. Once you arrive at your session, your credit counselor will look over your financial paperwork and ask you numerous questions about your financial challenges and your financial goals. At the end of your session, you’ll receive an action plan that will help you make informed decisions concerning how best to proceed.  

What Happens After Credit Counseling in Connecticut

After your credit counseling session is complete, you’ll need to decide whether to act on your credit counselor’s recommendations. Depending on your unique circumstances, you may be told that you could benefit from debt consolidation, a debt management program, or filing for consumer bankruptcy.

Connecticut Debt Consolidation

Most of the time, debt consolidation involves taking out a zero percent interest loan that serves as a bank transfer to pay off existing debts. Once you’ve paid your current debts with this loan, you’ll only have to pay the loan back in monthly installments instead of making multiple debt-related payments each month. The debt consolidation process can be helpful if you’re struggling with overdue balance fees and could benefit from a single, lower monthly bill payment for your debt-related financial accounts.

Connecticut Debt Management Plan

A debt management plan functions similarly to debt consolidation, in that it leads to a single, monthly debt payment. However, this process involves a debt consolidation agency’s intervention. The agency will contact your creditors and negotiate payment plans on your behalf. Your monthly debt payment will be paid to the agency, which will then pay out the funds per the terms of your plan.

Connecticut Bankruptcy

If your debts are so overwhelming that neither debt consolidation nor a debt management plan makes sense in your situation, you may benefit from filing from Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.Filing for bankruptcy will either allow you to eliminate your eligible debts in as few as 90 days or structure a debt repayment plan for a period of years before your remaining eligible debts are erased.



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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