Sometimes it seems like if it can go wrong financially it will. There are times in life when it you feel like you´re in the middle of a perfect financial storm: you get laid off, someone in the family needs medical treatment that isn´t covered, you have an auto accident or someone sues you because they tripped on your property. Often it´s not just one event, but several. You may feel frightened, anxious, or overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of solving multiple financial problems at once. And these are usually situations that occurred through luck of the draw. Some events we bring on ourselves by failing to plan and save or even by failing to exercise enough self-control. Such is the famous Law of Unintended Consequences.
The first thing to know is that you aren´t the only one. American consumer debt now stands at more than $2 trillion dollars and that doesn´t count what we owe on our homes. Considering our current population was almost 285 million in July 2001, that $2 trillion works out to just under $20,000 per household or about $7000 per person. When you factor in the 40% of consumers who pay their credit card bills in full every month, individual debt is often higher. Financial experts agree that Americans are "wallowing in debt" and the only difference seems to be how they calculate the approximate dollar amount per household.
Regardless of how you got here from there, there is no time like the present to take control of your financial condition and put it back on track. Many American consumers seek assistance to educate themselves and do the right thing by addressing their debt problems only to be taken advantage of by consumer credit counseling services that promise credit repair, reduced payments, and miraculous results in an impossibly short time frame. As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn´t. Not only might these counseling services not help, they can actually increase your indebtedness.
Because of current legal loopholes, there are a number of organizations that boast tax-exempt, non-profit status as consumer counseling firms. Despite some efforts to regulate these companies, there are still hundreds and you need to pay close attention if you want this kind of financial help.
Protect yourself when dealing with credit counseling services by observing the following tips:
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