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Consumer counseling can help reduce credit card debt

As we near the end of January, many California residents are making headway on their New Year's resolutions. For some, reducing their existing levels of credit card debt sits at the top of that list. When addressing high levels of debt, consumers should know that they do not have to complete the process on their own. Just as many people who want to lose weight hire a personal trainer to assist toward that goal, there are professionals who can help you achieve debt reduction.

These professionals are known as credit counselors, and they work in much the same way as personal trainers. A credit counselor will sit down with you and go over your current financial standing, assessing all income, debt and assets. A highly specific plan of attack is designed with your financial goals in mind.

Credit counselors can help consumers negotiate lower interest rates and can often work with creditors to reduce penalties or waive late fees. A monthly payment structure can be made to aggressively pay down debt, according to one's income and expense levels. While the process does take time, the results can be life-changing.

Credit counseling is an excellent option for many California consumers. For others, the existing level of debt has surpassed their ability to repay. In these cases, no amount of interest rate reduction or monthly payment structures will allow the consumer to significantly reduce credit card debt within the desired timeline. In such cases, filing for personal bankruptcy may provide a faster path to debt reduction. Such an action can also completely eliminate some debt through discharge.

Source: Money Talks News, "Resolutions 2013: How to Find Financial Help," Linda Doell, Jan. 4, 2013

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