Is Credit Counselling the Best Option

As consumers, we are often in need of credit counselling, although we might not want to admit it. I mean ask yourself - Are you in control of your credit, or is your credit controlling you? Some people reach out to experienced professionals who can help them increase their credit rating and to repair bad credit. But is this truly helping, or only making the situation worse? I mean, why does someone want a better credit score? Usually, in order to borrow more money, (which they seem not to be able to afford, which is why they need it!) And so the individual is stuck in a vicious circle - needing more money to pay off increasing debts - And there are much better debt solutions Of course, there may be legitimate reasons for credit counselling, such as having an error on your credit score that prevents you from successfully applying for a mortgage or home loan, in which case consumer credit counselling might be advisable.

But let's look at the broader picture here. Debt in our society is increasing dramatically, with the frugal nature of the 1950s being seen as some anachronism according to the voracious consumer climate of the 90s and beyond. More frighteningly, people are getting into debt at a younger and younger age, with many 18 and 19-year olds being heavily in debt to their credit card companies. And it's easy to see why. We are being constantly bombarded by advertising messages, created by very powerful organisations, that are specifically made to encourage us to spend more and more money. It doesn't take long before credit card interest rates and loan interest, along with late payment penalties, get out of control, so causing a deadly trap where it's really hard to make even the minimum payments.

It's not much longer before you're drowning in debt. So yes, an experienced consumer credit counsellor can help you save money and sometimes reduce your debt significantly. But that's not the real issue here. The real issue is your incessant need to spend money! Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. You need to look at your overall financial health, and how your finances are intimately tied in with your overall health.

The best consumer debt solution is yourself. You are the consumer - so stop consuming! Credit cards may be a modern day necessity, but the downsides can hurt even the most sincere of credit card holders. High interest rates, the lure of extended lines of credit, and the trap of thinking you can afford the minimum monthly payments, can quickly spiral into a tragic case of financial haemorrhage. Hey, I've been there! A couple of late payments, and the credit card interest rate goes up, not to mention the late fees that may seem unfair, but they are pure profit for the credit companies and you gotta work hard to pay them! Credit cards cost you. Period.

So although consumer credit counselling may be appealing, take a good look at yourself first. Where are you to blame? Where can you get help with your addiction to spending? I'm not talking about a 12-step program here (although that might be a good idea!), I'm talking about finding a good online credit counselling resource that can tackle your need to spend. Once that is in place, and your financial health is more stable, you'll be in a much stronger position to reduce your debt in a meaningful way, not to simply find ways to increase your debts further. I think that's the best debt reduction solution there is.

Heather Allen is a mentor and entrepreneur. As well as teaching personal development, she writes on a wide range of topics, including helping people get out of debt. Find out more at

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