As we enter the New Year, the media is full of advice about how to get out of credit card debt. Featured experts regularly proclaim the benefits of budgeting, knowing who you owe, and making a plan to get out of debt – all of which are proven strategies. However, a do-it-yourself approach won’t work for everyone. Some consumers need more specific, personalized attention.
“The advice I’ve heard is somewhat generic in nature, and that can be a problem,” notes Christopher Viale, a personal finance expert and president of Cambridge Credit Counseling, “People struggle with their finances for a wide variety of reasons, and there are often a number of important factors contributing to their situation. The best way to create a successful plan to alleviate credit card debt is through customized advice.”
Many Americans are still dealing with stagnant incomes, under-employment, the threat of foreclosure, and an unsure economic future. These issues can complicate a family’s finances, but non-profit credit counseling agencies, including Cambridge Credit Counseling, offer professional advice for free. Counselors take the time to get to know an individual’s circumstances and goals, working with the consumer to create a plan appropriate to the situation. The non-profit counselor’s mission is to empower people to take control of their finances as they pay down their debts, safely and responsibly.
According to Viale, who also serves as vice president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, “There is an army of accredited, knowledgeable, and eager counselors ready to help the public, for free. AtCambridge, our average counselor has been with us for more than 10 years, and each of them has helped thousands of consumers create personalized plans to get out of debt.
Viale also issued a warning. “If the reports of increased holiday spending levels are accurate, 2012 may be a challenge for some people. For the last few years, many consumers have done without, but now that creditors are lending again, there’s a risk that we’ll see a return of the ‘kid in a candy store’ mentality. That could do more harm than good for our economy. People still need to be careful as they save for the future, balancing their needs against what they can actually afford.”
To schedule a free, personalized debt evaluation, contact Cambridge Credit Counseling at 1-800-CAMBRIDGE (1-800-226-2743), or visit www.aiccca.org to find an agency near you.