Alternatives to Bankruptcy: Money Management Credit Counselling
For high income people who can’t quite handle their debt, “credit counselling” can be an alternative to bankruptcy. Credit counselling services–the kind I’m talking about anyway–have agreements with the major credit cards on what payments they will accept through their program.
Professional and ethical standards for credit counselling non-profit companies are set by the National Foundation for Credit Counselling. The financial industry set up National Foundation for Credit Counselling in 1951. They wanted to give people an alternative to talking to bankruptcy lawyers like me.
Outfits affiliated with the NFCC will recommend a “debt management plan” that they expect the credit card companies will accept according to their pre-arrangements. They can usually get each payment down a little off the regular minimum monthly in a plan that still pays everybody off in five years. Debt management plans have to be licensed in most states, including Virginia.
One of the biggest credit counselling companies is Money Management International. I started sending people to them when they had an actual office with a live counselor in Manassas. That’s been gone since about 2006. (Actually that was a local outfit that was swallowed up by MMI.)
Martha Likes Her Debt Management Plan
I sent Martha to MMI last month. Here’s what she told me. “I took your advice and called the Money Management group and loved their program. I start with them on the 18th with the first payment and then they will contact my creditors and we have a 5 year plan to get everything paid off with minimal damage to my credit score.”
Based on what people have told me, these legit credit counselors work with you on your budget. If you really can’t afford their debt management plan, they tell you. That’s a big reason I can recommend them.
(Do NOT confuse these credit counsellors with debt settlement companies. I have comments about them, here. I do NOT recommend them.)
If credit counselling gives you all the help you need, it’s a good solution.