Concerned couple seeking financial advice Concerned couple seeking financial advice

Where Do I Start?

You have options - let's find the best path for you.

It sometimes takes longer than it should for us to realize there's a problem. If you're reading this, you're probably feeling some amount of pain connected to your finances, but you may be unsure if you need to act on that pain. Consider some of the following very common reasons why people seek help through a nonprofit credit counseling agency. If this sounds like you, it may be time to take action.

You are facing legal action

Perhaps it's an issue you've been avoiding for months, or maybe it just came out of nowhere. Perhaps you found a notice pinned to your door or received a threatening letter. 

Whether it's a creditor suing you for an unpaid debt or a lender threatening you with foreclosure due to a delinquent mortgage, receiving a notice from a lawyer is scary. For a lot of folks, that's the tipping point that leads them to finally reaching out for help.

Depending on the specifics of your situation, there may be advice and resources our counselors can provide, but it's important to make clear that the counselors at MMI are not lawyers. If you are facing a lawsuit, it's usually in your best interest to consult with a qualified attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the American Bar Association maintains a list of programs and resources for low income households.

FindLegalHelp.org

If you have received notification that your home is being foreclosed

Foreclosure Prevention Counseling Icon FORECLOSURE COUNSELING

MMI offers free foreclosure counseling, which can help you identify potential solutions to keep you in your home. Keep in mind, however, that the sooner you act, the better your chances of rehabilitating your mortgage. 

If you have received notification that a creditor is suing you for unpaid debts

Debt & Budget Counseling Icon CREDIT COUNSELING AND A DEBT REPAYMENT PLAN

A creditor or debt collector may accept a structured repayment plan in lieu of a court-ordered wage garnishment. As with foreclosure, the sooner you act the better your chances of avoiding a potential garnishment.

If you have debts in collection or accounts that have begun to fall behind, consider speaking with a credit counselor immediately to discuss your finances and the possibility of setting up a debt management plan to begin addressing your delinquent debts.

You cannot make all of your payments

If you find yourself choosing which bills to pay and which to skip each month, there may be an issue with your spending, or you may have an unmanageable amount of debt.

If your expenses exceed your income

Counseling Services Icon BUDGET COUNSELING

Credit counseling (also known as debt and budget counseling) is a one-on-one review of you finances, with the goal of understanding your challenges and providing actionable solutions. It's free and a great place to start if your bills and income just don't add up like they should.

If your credit card debt payments feel overwhelming

Debt & Budget Counseling Icon DEBT MANAGEMENT PLAN

A debt management plan (or DMP) is a structured repayment plan ideal for anyone who feels overwhelmed by the size of their credit card debt and would like to start making more progress against that debt. Most credit card accounts are eligible for reduced interest rates, saving significant money in the long-term.

If your student loan debts are too costly to manage

Student Loan Counseling Icon  STUDENT LOAN COUNSELING

Whether you're just out of school or you've been living with your student loans for years, if your federal student loan payments are just too costly to manage, you could benefit from speaking with a trained student loan counselor. Even if you've run out of deferments or begun to fall behind on your payments, there's a good chance your counselor can help you find a way forward. 

Your finances are about to change dramatically

Not all significant financial changes are bad (though the unexpected ones tend to be). Significant shifts can be challenging, however, if you aren't properly prepared.

If you're about to purchase your first home

Housing Services Icon  HOMEBUYER COUNSELING

Becoming a homeowner is one of the most dramatic financial changes you can experience. To help prepare you for life as a homeowner, we offer homebuyer counseling. It's a great way to learn the ins and outs of managing a mortgage and a new home.

If your income is about to increase or decrease

Counseling Services Icon BUDGET COUNSELING 

If your circumstances are changing and you aren't sure how to best manage your finances going forward, credit counseling is the ideal place to start. It's free, it's confidential, it's unbiased, and it provides you with the knowledge and confidence to make smart choices with your money.

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  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.