Five Star Reviews or BBB A+ Ratings - Debt Relief Reviews
If you are overwhelmed with credit cards and other unsecured debts, you may be searching for the highest rated or highest reviewed debt relief company, programs, or debt plans that are available. First of all, recognize that it is very important to understand that no two debt situations are exactly the same, so it's vitally important that you select the debt relief or debt resolution program that is best designed to meet your specific needs and best resolve the financial hardship you are experiencing. Whether you choose a four-star or five-star company, do your due diligence and select a company that has earned a BBB A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Why? The BBB accreditation and rating are generally good indications of a company's true commitment to taking care of customers and fulfilling expectations as promised. The rating may also reflect the tenure of the company: how long have they been in business and is their track record an exemplary one? These are all important questions to have answered.
Get a free debt relief analysis and savings estimate from a BBB A+ accredited debt relief provider. Learn about available debt relief options and the benefits of a debt relief plan.
Louisiana residents, like many consumers across the country, often are burdened with high interest credit cards and other unsecured debts such as store cards, gas cards, medical bills, doctor bills, personal signature loans, and more. If you find yourself in this situation, you may be searching for information regarding debt management programs, or debt management plans (DMPs) coordinated by credit counselors or debt counselors. You may also be exploring alternative debt relief options such as debt settlement, debt negotiation, or even bankruptcy. Regardless of your current debt situation or hardship, it's important to recognize the differences between these debt resolution options and how they each have their place in helping to provide relief for consumers experiencing financial hardships - and possibly even looking to avoid a personal bankruptcy.
Credit Counselors Customize Debt Management Plans
The clear goal of a debt management or credit counseling program is to take each one of your credit cards and other unsecured debts and combine or "consolidate" them all into a single, more manageable payment each month. Created with the help of a credit or debt counselor, by requesting and being offered the benefits of debt relief such as lower interest rates and the waiving of late fees and penalties, a debt management plan is designed to help consumers save a substantial amount of money and get out of debt faster than they could on their own if consumers continued to pay only monthly minimums at higher interest rates.
If you are going through a financial hardship and need to review your debt relief options, you can get your free debt relief evaluation and savings estimate at no obligation.
How are debt management plans (DMPs) personalized to meet your needs? Credit or debt counselors will normally speak personally with you to get information regarding the financial hardship you are experiencing and verify how much in actual unsecured debt you are facing. They will then gain a clear understanding of your income level as well as the amount of money you can reasonably allocate each month to pay down or payoff your debts. Finally, drawing from this information, they will then create a customized debt management plan (DMP) that requires that you temporarily "cease" using credit cards and set aside funds in your account each month so that you will be able to make one consolidated payment each month to the credit-counseling agency. The debt relief service provider will then distribute funds to creditors one by one. It's important to understand that, before this plan can be put in place, the debt management plan (DMP) must first be submitted to creditors requesting that they agree to extend the benefits of debt relief to the consumer in need. These benefits can include:
- Lowering Monthly Payments
- Reducing Interest Rates
- Waiving of Late Fees and Penalties
- Consolidating or combining debts into a single, more manageable, monthly payment
- Helping you save substantial money and allowing you to get out of debt in less time than you could on your own if you were to continue paying only the monthly minimum month after month at higher interest rates.
The bottom line: Creditors who understand that you're truly struggling with a financial hardship may be more open to agree to the proposals submitted by credit or debt counselors. Upon their acceptance of proposals, they are then added to the debt management plan. For creditors who do not agree to extend the benefits of debt relief, you are still bound to the original terms of your cardholder agreements.
Credit counseling agencies, through certified credit counselors or debt counselors, also provide a variety of additional debt relief services including assistance and guidance with budgeting, developing good spending habits, financial education and more. Truly outstanding debt relief or credit counseling agencies will always include a strong focus on consumer education and future debt prevention as part of their program. Reputable credit counseling agencies, be they for-profit or non-profit should all have the same goal for you in mind: They should not only seek to get you out of debt but also help you come to grips with the root cause of the debt crisis and give you the necessary tools to put the cycle of debt behind you once and for all.
Debt Management Is a Proven Path to Save Money
Debt management or credit counseling is a tried and true method for debt relief that has helped many individuals and families, but it's important to understand that debt management requires a certain amount of discipline and restraint to avoid credit cards. It also requires you to make on-time consolidated payments month after month, and an overall dedication to "keep on track" and complete a program that typically takes three years or more before debts are completely resolved and your debt-free day arrives!
That may seem like an extended period of time, but once you see debts begin to shrink as you make on-time payments month after month (and stop using credit cards), your debt-free day arrives before you know it! Ask anyone who has stayed with a debt relief plan and experienced the life-changing benefits first hand. The fact is, changing life-long spending habits and debt accumulation and giving yourself the gift of financial freedom and peace of mind can be very empowering.
The bottom line: Debt relief programs or debt management plans do not make debts magically go away but they have provided welcome relief and helped countless individuals and families escape the debt treadmill, save money, and get on the path to a life of financial freedom! One additional note to be aware of: Many people who enroll in a debt management plan will not be successful -- but, typically, it is not because the program or plan itself is deficient -- it is the fact that many people who get into debt in the first place may not have the discipline or commitment necessary to put the plastic promise of "buy now, pay later" behind them. Without the mindset and determination to stay the course and avoid using credit cards, there is no program that will be successful. One thing is certain when it comes to debt relief: If you continue to ring up unsecured high-interest revolving credit card debt, there is no way that you can escape the cycle of debt that can very well hold you captive for life!
State Programs for Low-Income Families
Some individuals and families, regardless of their credit card debt situation, may be going through a severe financial hardship and need immediate assistance from other sources to pay for basic essentials such as utility bills, rent, groceries, and childcare. To provide a safety net for these individuals and families, the state of Louisiana provides programs such as the Louisiana Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP), Louisiana Head Start, and the Supplemental Nutrition Program or SNAP, among others. To find out more, go to the state's homepage Benefits section.
Understanding Debt Relief Alternatives to Debt Consolidation
An alternative debt relief option to debt management through credit counseling is debt settlement. Debt settlement, also known as debt negotiation, is typically an option more suited for individuals and families who have high interest, high-balance credit card debt – individuals who may even be considering bankruptcy. It is a more aggressive form of debt relief that has helped consumers get out from under credit card debt faster, assuming funds can be "set aside" to build up a "lump sum" account that can later be used to extend a settlement offer to creditors. It's important to understand the difference between debt settlement and debt management: With debt management you are actually paying off everything you owe, but saving money through lower interest rates and a waiving of late fees and penalties. The objective of debt settlement is to "settle" with credit card companies for substantially less than is actually owed.
Why would credit card companies ever be willing to "settle" with consumers? If credit card companies decide eventually to "sell off" accounts that are 60 to 90 days late, or more, to a third-party collector, creditors may recoup as little as 10 cents on the dollar. This is not to say that creditors routinely agree to 10 cents on the dollar settlements, but it's not surprising that credit card companies may be agreeable to accept a reasonable settlement offer made by you or by a debt settlement company negotiating on your behalf - especially if they acknowledge the financial hardship you are facing and come to understand that you are genuinely doing your best to resolve debts and avoid a personal bankruptcy. Be aware that when consumers default on their credit card agreements for the purpose of setting aside money in a settlement fund, creditors may threaten or take legal action -- although legal action is not an option that credit card companies will always exercise. In addition, money saved through credit card settlements are subject to federal taxes. Finally, debt settlement, will typically have a negative impact on personal credit, but not as serious or long lasting of an impact as personal bankruptcy.
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