How to Know When You Are Ready For Budget and Debt Counseling
There is really no wrong time to talk with a trained budget and credit counselor.
- Do you spend more than you make each month and need help reviewing your finances?
- Are you financially overwhelmed and struggling to pay your bills each month?
- Has an income reduction made previously manageable debts unmanageable?
- Are mounting medical bills or a recent divorce causing financial strain?
No matter what financial problems you are dealing with, the first and most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone.
MMI offers a variety of personalized services to help consumers take control of their finances. When you contact MMI, a counselor will work with you to develop a personal financial assessment by analyzing your income, expenses, assets and liabilities. As a team, you and your counselor will work together to create a livable spending plan and establish an action plan for achieving your financial goals.
Gaining control of your credit usage problems is possible with our free money management counseling appointments, so you have nothing to lose by filling out an online credit counseling form or visiting the local MMI branch office location most convenient for you.
How to Prepare for Your Budget and Debt Counseling Appointment
It is not necessary to spend a lot of time and effort preparing before talking with a counselor. In fact, for many people, making the call or filling out an online counseling form is the first and most important step to improving their financial situation. Rest assured that our debt counselors are well trained and are more than happy to help you walk through the entire counseling process. That being said, if you do have the time to start thinking about some aspects of your finances before speaking with a counselor, it may help to streamline the process.
First, consider all of your sources of income. Sources of income might include money received from paychecks, rent, Social Security, and child support. Think about the amount of income you can expect to earn in the future. If your income fluctuates, you will want to be sure to tell your counselor so he or she can help you manage the changing circumstances.
Next, identify who you owe and how much you owe. Pulling copies of your latest statements can help with this process. You can also request free copies of your credit reports annually from AnnualCreditReport.com. Don’t worry if you do not have recent copies of your statements or your reports, your counselor can assist you with the identification process.
Next, think about where your money is going. It might be helpful to consider that there are three main types of expenses:
- Variable expenses are those that vary from month to month, such as clothing and food.
- Fixed expenses are those that do not vary from month to month. Examples of fixed expenses include car payments and mortgage or rent payments.
- Periodic expenses are those that are not paid on a regular monthly basis. For example, both holiday and tax debts are periodic, meaning they are not part of regular monthly expenditures.
Finally, think about achieving your financial goals. Identifying where you want to be in the future will help you and your counselor develop a plan of action. Remember to set goals that are realistic and flexible.
If the process of preparing for an appointment seems overwhelming, then don’t do it! The best thing you can do is to take that first step by talking to a counselor—the appointment is free, so you have nothing to lose.