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Credit counselling is an extremely unique practice, insofar as no two person’s experiences are the same. Everyone’s debt is different and everyone’s financial issues are different, this makes it rather difficult to estimate exactly how long it will take you to successfully complete your credit counselling. The best thing you can do is to enter your credit counselling with an open mind and to not place any time constraints on yourself, if you’re rushed or feel as though you absolutely need to complete your counselling by a certain date you might not be as successful as you originally hoped.

The best we can do is to go through some general guidelines that are based on the experiences of others who have successfully completed their credit counselling. Try not to compare yourself to others, rather take these guidelines and use them to determine whether credit counselling is the best option for you. You might also want to take a moment to consider your other options, such as bankruptcy, debt settlement or debt consolidation.

Time-Frames You Can Expect

If the time it’s going to take you to complete a debt relief program is a very important factor then you need to make sure you have a good understanding of all your options, it will make your decision process all the more easy. All debt relief programs including credit counselling have different time-frames; these time-frames are affected by a variety of factors including:

  • What your current financial situation looks like
  • How much debt you have
  • What type of debt you have
  • How long you’ve had the debt for
  • Your willingness to commitment to becoming debt free

While credit counselling and other debt relief options depend greatly on you, your current financial situation and your willingness to cooperate, you can expect certain options to take longer than others. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Credit Counselling

Credit counselling is completely reliant on you, your financial issues and your willingness to commit yourself fully to the process. Think of credit counselling just as you would any other type of counselling, the harder you work the more you’ll get out of the process. The only way to speed up your credit counselling is by fully committing yourself to reworking your finances, completing all the goals you have and learning to manage your money more responsibly and efficiently.

  • Bankruptcy

If speed is of the utmost importance to you and your financial situation is dire enough, you might want to consider filing for bankruptcy. While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for everyone, for some people bankruptcy is exactly what they need. If you listen to your bankruptcy trustee carefully, follow all the advice they give you and abide by all the rules and regulations you’ll be eligible to have your debts discharged after 9 months. Most other debt relief options take years, so if dealing with your financial issues as quickly as possible is your number one goal then you might want to consider speaking with a bankruptcy trustee to see if it’s the best option for you.

  • Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is a great debt relief option but it won’t save you any time. The main point of debt consolidation is to save you money on interest. Debt consolidation will take as long as it takes you to fully pay back all the money you owe. If a reduction in your interest rate is what you want then taking out a debt consolidation loan is probably the best option for you.

  • Debt Settlement Programs

If you want a reduction in the actual amount of money you owe you should look into debt settlement programs. A debt settlement program is relativity similar to credit counselling because you’ll work with a counsellor who will teach you to better manage your finances. Your counsellor will also negotiate with your creditors on your behalf for a reduction in the amount of money you owe them.

Your Individual Situation

There are no set in stone rules for how long you’ll need to be in credit counselling for or for any other type of debt relief. It all depends on you and your willingness to live within your budget, your interest rates, how much you owe and your ability to pay back your debt. If getting back on track and regaining control over your finances is very important to you then you need to make it a priority, consider your options, choose the best one for your situation and work on it every day.

Caitlin Wood, BA avatar on Loans Canada
Caitlin Wood, BA

Caitlin Wood is the Editor-in-Chief at Loans Canada and specializes in personal finance. She is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University and has been working in the personal finance industry for over eight years. Caitlin has covered various subjects such as debt, credit, and loans. Her work has been published on Zoocasa, GoDaddy, and deBanked. She believes that education and knowledge are the two most important factors in the creation of healthy financial habits. She also believes that openly discussing money and credit, and the responsibilities that come with them can lead to better decisions and a greater sense of financial security.

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