Who can best help me with my debt problems? The correct answer to this question has a number of different parts, depending on your debt. How much debt do you have? Who do you owe the debt to? Are you able to pay back any of your debt? Is it a joint debt? Is your debt causing you to be garnished?
Think of your debt problems like any other problem. If it is a minor problem and has a simple solution, you may be able to do it on your own, or a credit counselor may be able to help. They can help with budgeting and maybe help to organize your payment schedule. Similar to having a small drain issue in your sink maybe a plunger or Draino will do the job.
If your debt problems are larger and more complicated, you need help from the professionals, a Licensed Trustee. They are licensed; highly educated, strictly regulated and have the legislative authority to deal with your debt. If you have a cut, you use a band aid, if you need surgery you see a doctor. Same thing! Don’t trust something so important to someone who may or may not have the education and experience to deal with your problem. Someone with little or no formal education can be a credit counselor, not so with a Trustee. Anyone at a hardware store can sell you lumber. Doesn’t mean they are a carpenter.
A Trustee has the knowledge and experience to assess your situation and give you the most comprehensive advice. They have the legal authority to deal with your creditors, stop a garnishee, protect your assets, and help turn around your situation.
If you need to do a repayment plan with your creditors, Trustee’s fees are covered by the creditors and no interest is applied. That’s right, zero interest. Why? Because Bankruptcy Trustees are licensed by the Federal Government and the government has developed these plans to help the honest debtor get a fresh start. Most credit counselors are essentially a middleman. They may refer you to a Trustee if they cannot accomplish what you need done, they may charge a fee for their service and they may charge interest of 5% – 9% on top of what the creditors have already charged.
If you cannot afford to pay back your debt and need to file for bankruptcy, a Trustee is the only person who can help you with this. Not a lawyer, not an accountant and certainly not a credit counselor. A Bankruptcy Trustee does more than Bankruptcy, and as a part of the service will provide financial counseling. Different than credit counseling. Beware of what services are being provided and what the fees cover. Do not pay a credit counselor up front or arrange a payment plan with them to do a repayment with your creditors. Creditors have no desire to deal with them, whereas a Trustee has the ability to arrange these repayment plans with the cooperation of the creditors.