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10 Common Fears People Have about Credit Counselling

by:
Sandra Sherk

If you’re facing financial problems but aren't sure you want to work with a not-for-profit credit counselling agency, like Credit Canada, and meet with a certified credit counsellor, the best person to speak to is someone who’s gone through the process themselves and successfully completed a Debt Consolidation Program (DCP).

In this blog, we cover the most common concerns we hear from our clients that held them back from getting the help they needed, and what they wish they would have known sooner.

  1. The Counsellor Asked Me to Pull Together a Bunch of Information for the First Appointment. This information is important because it gives your counsellor a clear picture of your true financial situation so they can provide you with all of the available options for resolving any of your financial issues. For your first counselling session, we’ll ask you about your monthly income, monthly expenses, and information about any debts you owe.

  2. The Counsellor Will Think I’m Stupid Because I Can’t Handle My Money. Your counsellor will not judge you! We’ve seen and heard it all. We’ll work with you, step-by-step, throughout the entire program and explore how you can successfully manage your money and debt every day.

  3. I’ll be Charged Big Bucks to Get Help When I’m Already Having Money Problems. Credit Canada doesn’t charge for their counselling, and we will conduct a full financial assessment and budget with you for free. We will inform you of your options, tell you exactly what each will cost you, and then you can decide what’s best for you. For example, one option might be our Debt Consolidation Program, where your counsellor negotiates with your creditors on your behalf to waive the interest on your debt and work out a payment schedule that makes sense for you, your budget, and your monthly bills. This gives you enough breathing room (and extra cash) to actually pay down the principle on your debt and become debt-free. 

  4. I’m Not Sure Who I Owe Money To. Your counsellor can pull your credit report for free and then review it with you to make sure everything that is listed is accurate and makes sense.

  5. I Don’t Want to Get “An Allowance” from My Counsellor Every Month for My Expenses. You are always in control of your money. You will pay your monthly expenses yourself, you make a monthly payment to Credit Canada, which will disburse those funds to your creditors on your behalf. You’re still managing your money yourself; they’re just managing your debt and handling your creditors for you. It’s like learning how to drive — you have an instructor but you’re in the driver’s seat.

  6. I Can’t Live Without a Credit Card. It’s difficult, but not impossible. Not using a credit card helps you to better manage your money and establish savings for the occasional expenses, like gifts and car repairs. It also helps you get in the habit of putting money away every payday to cover unexpected expenses that might pop up. When you need to make online purchases, you can get a pre-paid or secured credit card, which your counsellor can help you with. 

  7. I Can’t Budget. Don’t worry, that’s why we’re here. Your counsellor will create a budget and spending plan for you, for free, during your first appointment. The counsellor also will give you tips on how best to establish and implement your new budget into your everyday spending. The goal is that over time, you become very good at planning ahead. For many clients, it’s the first time in years they truly feel in control of their finances and money. Check out some of our helpful resources.

  8. I Don’t Want My Credit Rating Affected. Many people feel this way and it’s a legitimate concern. However, for most people coming onto a debt consolidation program, their credit rating has already been affected and that’s partly why they’ve come to see us. It’s like not wanting to get a medical procedure done because you’ll have downtime. But if you don’t get the procedure done, your downtime will be permanent. Many of our DCP clients couldn’t get new credit because of past credit problems, and if they kept going as they were, their credit rating would have never improved and only gotten worse. In some cases, their creditors were even considering taking legal action against them. By going on a debt consolidation program, their debt reduced month-to-month, and once they completed the program they received a credit building program for one year to help improve their credit rating.

  9. I’ll Never be Able to Get Credit Again. It’s actually quite the opposite — this is your first step towards getting credit. In many cases, once clients complete our debt consolidation program and successfully pay off their debt, their bank is willing to give them a credit card (with a realistic limit), which also helps to rebuild their credit. 

  10. I’ll Never be Able to Buy a House. Our counsellors assist with realistic goal-setting. For many of our clients, they would have never been able to realize their dream of owning a home if they didn’t deal with their debt and improve their credit rating. Our counsellors provide guidance on how to increase your available income, save for the down payment, and handle the extra costs of home ownership.

All of our clients are very proud of their financial achievements and how they’ve overcome debt. We’re happy they made that first call to Credit Canada at 1-800-267-2272, and we hope you’ll make the same call, too!

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Topics: Credit Counselling

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