Debt can be a very isolating experience—at least partially due to the fact that it often stirs up a negative cocktail of emotions ranging from anxiety to shame. For this reason, many consumers feel they must go about their lives and keep quiet about their debt. Some people have the mentality that they’re alone in figuring out how to pay back the money they owe; that reaching out would either be admitting failure or simply too much of a hassle.
The good news is that consumers absolutely don’t have to tackle debt alone. First of all, the internet makes helpful information more available than ever before. And furthermore, there are a range of professionals whose job it is to help consumers work through money-related challenges, like debt, to improve their overall financial health.
Consider whether any of these options would make you feel more motivated and empowered to eliminate your debt—with help by your side.
Option #1: Financial Advisor
Financial advisors can help you make informed short- and long-term decisions about your money. This includes managing debt. As Investopedia writes, “A person overwhelmed with debt is like a person bleeding from an open wound—the first step is to stop the bleeding. A trusted advisor can map out a client’s cash flow and identify existing and potential problem areas.”
Of course, this means you must be willing to be honest with your financial advisor. You’ll have to turn over bills, bank statements, income information, tax returns and more if you want your advisor to get the full picture so they can give you relevant advice. You must also be willing to hear an honest assessment of your finances from an expert. While this can be nerve-wracking at first, it will help you formulate a plan for handling your debt effectively, no matter how much.
Option #2: Debt Consultant
If you’re new to the debt relief world, it can seem daunting to choose the right solution for your exact needs. You’ll inevitably have questions as you do research. So, who can you ask?
A consumer who is considering enrolling in a debt settlement program needs to know whether it’s a possible solution for their type and amount of debt, plus how the program works. Reputable industry leaders have knowledgeable Certified Debt Consultants on staff to walk consumers through these preliminary steps and help them decide if a strategy like debt settlement is a viable option.
Option #3: Credit Counselor
Credit counselors are certified and trained in helping consumers develop a plan for their finances. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, credit counselors might:
- Advise consumers on managing money and debts.
- Help clients develop a budget.
- Help clients obtain their credit reports and scores.
- Offer free educational materials and workshops.
- Organize a debt management plan.
If you decide to seek out the services of a credit counselor, make sure the service is legitimate. Avoid any organizations unwilling or unable to offer free information about itself and its services before asking you for your personal information.
Option #4: Family and Friends
Although carrying debt can feel lonely at times, sometimes the best thing you can do is reach out to people you know. Crowdsourcing suggestions is a great way to compare your options based on real-life results. Just make sure you bring up the subject in a tactful way so as not to strain any interpersonal relationships. You may even find out someone you know was in a similar situation to yours before they took certain actions!
The bottom line here is that consumers don’t have to tackle debt alone. There are a number of professionals you can connect with to get quality information; it may also be a possibility to glean real-life advice from the people around you.