Consolidating student loan drawbacks
If you reach out to speak with a credit counselor at this point, it should be because you know you can budget between 1.7% and 2.5% of your combined credit card balances (and other unsecured debts), as your new lower monthly payment.
If you are faced with a situation where something has got to give in order for you to resolve your debt, you will find limited options.
There are many hundreds of thousands of people succeeding with their debt management plans while you are reading this.
All of this detail should help you understand what credit counseling is, how credit counseling works, and whether it is an approach you can use to get relief from your debt.
But blanket encouragement to seek out advice from consumer credit counseling services is, in my opinion, done out of laziness and/or a complete lack of understanding of how the repayment plans are structured with limited application and suitability.
The formula I provided in the first article in this series, and that is repeated a bit differently below, can show you in less than 5 minutes that credit counseling is not a good option for you, or how your budget is a good fit for using a debt consolidation plan to get out of credit card debt.
I can understand why people lean toward credit counseling instead of facing the reality that bankruptcy could be a better option, or that you may have to gut-out dealing with debt collection calls for a while, until you can settle your credit card bills.
Additional financial pressures that can come along after you start a DMP are certainly a leading cause of having to cancel out of a plan.
Depending on how long an account went delinquent before enrolling with the credit counseling service, and whether your account was with a debt buyer at the time you started your DMP, missing a debt management plan payment may mean losing interest rate benefits and having them reapplied retroactively.
I do not advise enrolling charged-off credit card debts (typically accounts that are 180 days past due) into a credit counseling service unless, or until, there are more conforming account treatments when accounts are already placed with outside collectors.
If you make your new lower monthly credit card payments in your DMP for any significant period of time, and are suddenly unable to continue, you will have wasted time and money – both are a precious commodity in debt relief.
Wasting months or years in debt consolidation that ultimately does not work can be avoided.