Know the warning signs that you’re in need of financial help.
Evaluating your financial situation regularly can save you time and money in the future. We recommend reviewing your finances at least once per month. This includes taking a look at your current income, your ability to pay your bills, and the amount you are able to place in savings or investments per month.
This is a good time for you to look at your financial goals and write down which short-term (6 months or less) and long-term (6 months or more) goals you want to accomplish and keep track of your progress in meeting them.
Ideally, if trouble does occur, an individual would be prepared financially due to taking a proactive approach. However, that is not always feasible as some hardships such as job loss, divorce or accidents happen without warning or notice, and can cause financial burdens.
Here are some signs that an individual may want to seek outside help.
- Using more and more of your income to pay off your debt
- Making only the minimum payments due on your accounts
- Credit Cards are near, at or over the spending limit
- Paying bills with money intended for other things
- Paying bills late
- Putting off medical or dental visits because of inability to pay
- Accounts have gone to collections
- Worrying about your finances and money in general
Where to Turn?
Better Business Bureau Report
When looking for help with your finances it is recommended that you start by researching a company’s Better Business Bureau report. This report will offer you a rating on the organization’s services and handling of customer complaints. A clean record and positive rating may be a good indicator that you are looking in the right direction.
Does the company work with an accrediting organization? Do they have an outside entity that performs audits to ensure the quality of service being provided?
Is the company a nonprofit? This is especially important when researching credit counseling organizations.
Finally, looking up consumer complaints online can provide you with others perspectives. While not everything we read or find on the internet is true, multiple negative complaints about a company can offer some insight as to how the company operates and if it is the right one for you.
Review our debt consolidation guide for more information to help you determine if consolidation is in your best interest.