How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Tennessee?
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Becoming debt-free may seem nearly impossible right now. But, it’s not. As long as you find yourself good credit counseling in Tennessee, you will be on your way to a debt free life.
Written by Attorney Karra Kingston.
Updated November 30, 2019
If you are struggling to pay your credit card debts each month and feel overwhelmed, you’re not alone. According to the Federal Reserve, consumer debt was approaching $14 trillion after the second quarter of 2019. Further, the study found that there has been consistent growth in four areas of debt: home, student loans, auto, and credit cards. Americans deal with the love-hate relationship of having credit cards each day. For some, credit cards have given U.S. consumers great buying power. For others, however, it has caused financial disaster. If you fall or are starting to fall into the latter category, you may be able to get help by participating in a Tennessee credit counseling session. Credit counseling services provide different tools to help people get out of debt and manage their finances. A Tennessee credit counseling session is a free resource that can help you if you are suffocating with bills.
A credit counseling session helps people who are living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to pay bills each month. During a credit counseling session you will speak with a certified credit counselor that lasts anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes. Certified counselors educate consumers on the cause of their debt.The counselor will review your specific information and come up with solutions to improve your financial position. The solutions a credit counselor will give vary based on your unique situation. The counselor will determine if a debt management plan (a DMP), debt consolidation or bankruptcy is the right fit for you.
If you have been losing sleep at night, wondering if credit counseling in Tennessee is right for you, then you are in the right place. If you are making yourself sick over your bills, have creditors calling you nonstop and feel like your suffocating, then it is probably best to participate in a Tennessee credit counseling session. Many nonprofit companies provide free initial consultations and if you hate it you don’t have to move forward. You may be surprised to learn that even if you are not behind on your bills yet you may still benefit from taking a Tennessee credit counseling session to educate you about your finances.
Do some research before choosing a company you want to work with. It is important to find a reputable counselor to ensure you are receiving good advice. There are many companies out there that will try to get you into a debt settlement program. Be careful to not sign up with anyone that is trying to talk you into a debt settlement or any other program with high fees. Educate yourself on the difference between credit counseling in Tennessee and debt settlement. Tennessee credit counselors provide tools to help you manage finances, credit, and budget. A debt settlement company, on the other hand, arrange settlements of your debts for a fee. If you don’t have money set aside for settling your debts, then chances of working out good settlements with your creditors are slim. Normally, creditors will settle for less if you have a lump sum to offer. Further, many of these debt settlement companies take large monthly fees for themselves each month leaving barely any money left to offer your creditor. Further, you may be hit with a large tax bill at the end of the year for the forgiven amount your creditors settled for. Using an accredited credit counseling agency, brightens your chances of finding a good Tennessee credit counselor who truly cares about finding the right solution for your financial distress.
How to Get Free Credit Counseling in Tennessee
Becoming debt-free may seem nearly impossible right now. But, it’s not. As long as you find yourself good credit counseling in Tennessee, you will be on your way to a debt free life. Follow these five steps to help you locate a good credit counseling agency so that you can get out of debt:
Find Tennessee Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agencies
First, sign up with a nonprofit organization that offers free services. A nonprofit credit counseling organization works with low income individuals to help them get out of debt. Since non-profit credit counselors in Tennessee offer free advice we strongly suggest that you use their tools to help you with debt relief.
If you do a quick search on the internet to locate a credit counseling agency, you will find numerous companies. Unfortunately, many of these companies are scams so it is important to do a little research before choosing one. Find the right Tennessee credit counselor for your by making sure they are reputable and you feel comfortable with them. Don’t just choose the first company you see online. Watch out for any red flags staring you in the face. A reputable credit counseling agency will not charge for an initial consultation. If any company tries charging you don’t even give that company a second thought. Make sure that the credit counseling company you choose is accredited by the NFCC (National Foundation for Credit Counseling). This will ensure that you are getting good advice. THe NFCC is one of the oldest nonprofit organizations out there and makes their credit counselors adhere to strict standards to ensure they are qualified to give good financial information. Further, the Federal Trade Commission also has information to help you choose a qualified Tennessee credit counselor and even provides a list of preliminary questions you should ask the Tennessee credit counselor before signing up.
Information to Research Before Talking to a Tennessee Credit Counseling Agency
Debt counseling has become a $7 billion industry and unfortunately not all companies are willing to help you. Go to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to find a list of accredited counseling agencies. Make a list of your own so that you can do some research on more than one Tennessee credit counselor. Another good place to check out is your state's attorney general’s office to determine whether consumers have filed any complaints about the credit counseling organization you’re considering. If you are still unsure whether the company is a good fit, check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to look up the Tennessee credit counseling. The BBB holds businesses accountable to the highest standards in their advertising and selling and correct business abuses. The BBB keeps a list of credit counseling agencies that are well-known for their services by making them undergo tough accreditation standards. If you see any companies that use language that sounds too good to be true to advertise, run away! Some language to look out for are:
“Pay now, we’ll erase your debts!”
“We will eliminate all of your money problems within a month!”
“You can get rid of all of your debts for one small fee!”
Questions to Ask the Tennessee Credit Counselor Before Signing Up
Before you move ahead with a Tennessee credit counselor to get debt relief, have a list of questions ready to ask to ensure this person is capable of helping you. Always ask how much money a credit counseling service will charge you. Some companies charge thousands of dollars even though they can’t guarantee a favorable outcome. Also, ask if the company is accredited. If the company is not accredited don’t sign up. It is better to go with a reputable company even if the counselor is telling you everything you want to hear. Be aware that some counselors are paid bonuses or incentives for signing users up. You can ask the counselor how they are paid. If they are paid by bonuses this is a warning that you should go somewhere else because they may just be trying to get as many people as they can to join their agency, instead of really caring about your specific financial needs. To begin your counseling session you’ll need to find out what financial documents you should have on hand. The counselor can only recommend different solutions if they have a full picture of your financial situation. So don’t forget to ask them which documents they want you to have. A Tennessee credit counselor will talk to you on the phone or online. If neither of these options seem appealing, you will need to find a counselor to meet you in person. Some additional questions to consider are:
How much will this cost?
How is the amount of my payment determined?
How often can I get a status update?
What will happen if the counselor’s recommendation is more than I can afford?
How are your services funded?
What to Expect During Credit Counseling
Tennessee credit counselors will do three things to help you get out of debt. First, they will review your specific financial situation. In order to be able to come up with a plan, the counselor and you will need to determine how your debt started. Second, the counselor will go through an analysis of the factors that contributed to the root of your debt. The counselor will work with you to identify any bad habits so that you can change them. Lastly, the counselor will come up with a plan that will be tailored to your specific financial needs. The Tennessee credit counselor will give you different solutions to manage your current situation. Some of these solutions include debt management plans, budgeting, and bankruptcy. Your initial credit counseling session usually lasts one hour. Be ready to go into great detail about your financial situation with your Tennessee credit counselor. Be open and honest so that they can really help you.
What Happens after Credit Counseling in Tennessee
Depending on your financial situation there are many different steps that may be recommended to you. The amount of time that you spend with a credit counselor will depend on your unique situation. You may decide that one session is enough to come up with a plan to tackle your debts. If you feel you need more help the credit counselor may recommend different plans for you to reduce your debt.
Below are some of the most common plans that a credit counseling agency may recommend.
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Tennessee Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation in Tennessee rolls multiple debts into one single monthly payment. You can use a credit card or personal loan to consolidate your debt which will often result in a lower monthly payment.
Tennessee Debt Management Plan
A debt management plan in Tennessee helps people pay back their debts at an affordable rate. The Tennessee credit counseling agency makes monthly payments directly to your creditors, often at a reduced interest rate. This allows you to make payments that fit into your monthly budget.
A Tennessee bankruptcy may be a good option for you if you simply can’t keep up with your bills anymore. By filing bankruptcy in Tennessee, you can leave your debt behind and start over. Be careful of any companies that try to tell you that you will lose all of your property or never have credit again if you file bankruptcy. This is simply false. Bankruptcy counseling can be a great way to help you get back on your feet and help you begin the process of rebuilding your credit again.