While creating debt is remarkably easy, clawing your way out can prove far more difficult.
Being in debt isn’t necessarily a sign of bad financial management, many Americans have loans for their education, homes or cars. However, debt can be a slippery slope and before you know it you can be in a sticky situation.
Before reaching out to expert financial or legal providers, there are a number of associations providing free financial management advice for Americans crippled by debt.
First, how does debt management work?
Managing debt starts with facing the reality of your financial situation. Besides curbing unnecessary expenses and borrowing, it also involves revising your budget so you can meet your financial obligations.
From personal finance counseling to dispute resolution and setting up realistic repayment plans, getting the help you need doesn’t have to cost a thing.
Freeing yourself from debt – for free
Good advice for dealing with debt doesn’t have to be expensive; it could be free when you ask the right people. Here are a few resources that offer free assistance:
National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)
The nonprofit foundation founded in 1951 offers several different services for debt relief and you can take advantage of a handful of tools for free:
- NFCC offers a free first-time free consultation to educate you on how to get your finances back under control.
- Learn about money management when it comes to credit or buying a house in its 101 videos.
- Use the online budget planner combined with one of the budget calculators to craft and track a realistic budget.
If you’re interested in getting help, schedule an appointment with NFCC on its website or call and speak to a representative at 1-800-388-2227.
Credit.org, a nonprofit website, has been educating Americans on debt management since 1974. They offer online education as well as personal finance coaching. It can offer:
- Credit counseling over the phone or in person is free.
- A handful of content that can give you the knowledge to get your finances back on track.
- Free webinars and classes
Credit.org stresses the importance of taking that critical first step to eliminating debt. Call at 1-800-431-8157 to speak to representative or head over to the website.
Are these services really free?
Yes — to an extent. Both NFCC and Credit.org are nonprofits whose aims are to improve the financial lives of those in need of assistance. While both offer free online educational tools and resources, if you want to meet with a credit counselor you may have to pay a charge. Some nonprofits offer in-person classes or schedule one-on-one sessions for free while others may offer these services at a small charge.
Debt-free for a fee
While you can get good advice for free, certain companies offer similar — but more comprehensive — services for a fee. You could even benefit from a free consultation to get a better idea of how to start managing your debt with a reputable debt relief company.
Here are two top debt solution specialists that offer free consultations for Americans struggling with debt:
National Debt Relief. This accredited company offers debt settlement services with direct negotiations. It typically charges between 18% and 25% of your enrolled debt, but you could stand to save more if you’re consolidating a large amount. You must have at least $7,500 in debt to qualify.
Freedom Debt Relief. This accredited company works to relieve you of unmanageable debt by enrolling you in a debt settlement program. You’ll pay a monthly fee for the service and could save between 15% and 35% depending on the debt enrolled. You must have at least $15,000 in unsecured debt and live in an eligible state to qualify.
Compare top debt relief providers
Should I use a free or paid service?
Consider a free service if…
- You’re on top of your payments and just want a little help to speed up the process
- You want to learn more about credit options and building credit but aren’t ready for a full debt settlement plan
- You’d like to build a personal relationship with someone interested in your overall financial wellbeing
Consider a paid service if…
- You have over $10,000 in debt from various sources and want to consolidate them quickly
- You’ve experienced financial hardship and are having trouble getting back on track on your own
- You want someone to negotiate with creditors on your behalf to lower your balances
Everyone can fall into debt, but not everyone can afford financial advisors and private companies to help them get out of it. With a little research, Americans in debt can benefit from free, accessible and completely legitimate expert advice to properly manage financial situations. Paid services like debt relief companies are available for those who want to get out of debt more quickly and have their balances negotiated by a professional.
Frequently asked questions