Toronto ON – Only you can win the world series of saving for your future by keeping your eyes on the credit ball. Take your eyes off the ball, and you will strike out and go into debt by knowingly using credit for items you can’t afford.
If you can afford to pay off debt in-full, this is always the best option. However, there are many financial bullpens available to help you improve your financial situation, but they are not all created equal.
“A not-for-profit credit counselling agency helps the consumer to get their finances back on track in the most efficient and cost-effective way,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “There is no pressure to sign a contract or upfront fees; these agencies work for the consumer’s benefit!”
The Ministry of Consumer Services is warning consumers to “exercise caution when considering a contract for debt settlement services.” The Ministry notes “complaints about companies offering debt settlement services are increasing. Most of the complaints are about unclear or misleading contracts, excessive fees, and failure to reduce debts as promised.”
“The Ministry’s warning makes it essential that consumers having difficulty meeting their financial obligations speak with a trained credit counsellor from a not-for-profit agency. The counsellor will assess the situation, work with the consumer to create a budget and help determine, if applicable, the best debt relief option to use,” continues Schwartz.
The benefits of working with a not-for-profit credit counselling agency are:
- Speaking with a trained credit counsellor who has the expertise to evaluate your debts versus the rest of your budget to determine the most efficient way to get you out of debt, free of charge.
- Having access to a multitude of financial literacy education material to educate you on how to develop good money management techniques, free of charge.
- Enrolling in a debt management program to consolidate (combine) multiple unsecured debts into one monthly payment.
- Negotiating with creditors on your behalf, to reduce interest rates, which, in turn, reduces the amount you pay each month and provides immediate relief for your budget.
- Your debts are paid off in full within a reasonable period of time, usually three to four years, during which time you have changed your attitudes and behaviours towards money.
- Creditors and collection agencies will stop hounding you for money
- There is no pressure to sign a contract.
- There are no upfront fees to add to your debt.