Also known as credit counselors, a debt counselor is a trained professional that can assist individuals experiencing a financial crisis to develop a plan to reduce, eliminate, or better manage debt. Debt counselors can use a variety of methods to help individuals, including techniques such as budgeting, debt negotiation, and debt consolidation.
Debt counselors are often trained to help identify underlying family situations that need to be resolved before the individual or family can recover financially. In this situation, the debt counselor might refer the individual to a social service agency that can help with these matters.
Debt counselors are often associated with not-for-profit organizations, and can be a valuable service to those in need. Unfortunately, there are some debt counseling organizations that prey on the newfound vulnerability of the same people that are in need of help.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling, or NFCC, is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the setting of standards for debt and credit counseling. The NFCC, through its member agencies, has created the oldest and largest counseling network in America. Members of this network can be identified by the NFCC member seal.
These debt and credit counselors are certified, and are trained, to provide consumers with the help they need to realize long term financial strength. Many of these agencies offer free services, or charge nominal fees to cover operating costs.