How a Stranger May be Your Best Bet for Getting Out of Debt
Let’s be realistic. By now, most of us know that having savings and minimal debt are paramount to our financial health. This isn’t news. Seeing the results of the NFCC survey are a reminder that people need help getting started on the road to stability.
According to this poll, 89% of people either feel like economic stability is unattainable or they believe they lack the skills to get there. We can tell them, as the NFCC did, that you should save 10% of every paycheck and you should use less than 30% of your available credit, but telling doesn’t teach. It doesn’t inspire and it doesn’t grow our financial muscles.
Saving money, managing a budget and keeping debt low are behaviors based on habits. If we were all superstars in this arena, we wouldn’t see all of the posts about New Year’s resolutions.
In my experience of providing financial counseling for over 13 years, I have learned there are three critical elements to learning new habits. Repetition, accountability and support. These elements have helped many people successfully build their financial futures.
What I see at American Financial Solutions, is a system that allows people to take control of their financial destinies, while they have the support of a credit counselor. That support helps people take the steps they need to learn solid financial habits. It isn’t a judgment or a, “you should,” statement. Instead the focus is on understanding barriers and finding ways to break those down, so that people can save or pay more towards debt.
Maybe people begin by saving 1% of their income – maybe it is just $1. The habit is what is important. The amount can be increased as they see and feel and celebrate successes. Paying off one credit card, disputing something in their credit report, opening a savings account – those are some behaviors that we need to celebrate with people. Those are the behaviors that credit counselors’ help you achieve.
It isn’t enough to tell anymore. We need support and a plan that is specific to our lives. Blanket savings and debt goals are ideal guidelines, putting them into practice is where the challenge comes in. Credit counselors can help you overcome that challenge.
Just look at some of these statements from our clients –
“In less than 20 minutes (my counselor) brought order to what I considered a hopeless financial jumble and to what I saw as an overwhelming debt load…. She gave me a financial path to follow, along with the belief in myself that I can do this and caution about what expenses to stop as soon as possible…. Now I ‘own’ my financial situation and can change it.”
"I never would be as far as I am now without the help of AFS. It was a scary step to cut up all of my credit cards, but after two years my credit score has improved to 715 and I am about to close on my first house ($239,000) with excellent financing. Thank you for the confidence and financial freedom."
-- Andrea K.
“The thing I admire most about AFS is when you speak to an advisor you are treated with respect, like someone who got themselves in trouble financially, not like a deadbeat! That has helped me a great deal over the last three years.”
If you are looking for a partner to help you with your finances – we are right here.
Published Jan 9, 2015.