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Learning to budget, spend, and borrow wisely isn’t always easy. Sometimes it takes a guiding hand, whether you’re a resident of Regina or living anywhere else in Canada. In fact, sometimes our expenses and debts can get so out of hand that the help of a professional is needed. The only problem is finding the right help to meet your needs.
Are you looking for advice to either improve your financial situation or simply to gain some extra know-how? If so, credit counselling in Regina Saskatchewan might be the best course of action.
Looking to improve your credit this year? Click here to learn how you can do it.
Can Credit Counselling Change My Financial Health?
Credit counselling is a service that anyone can sign up for when they need help with their financial issues. Similar to the way a traditional advisor operates, it’s a credit counsellor’s job to provide people with information about all things financial. However, as we said, a credit counsellor can take it a step further. If necessary, they can also:
- Negotiate debt settlements with your creditors
- Give lessons about budgeting, debt management, responsible uses of credit, etc.
- Teach you how to improve bad credit or maintain good credit
- Give you advice about and refer you to other debt relief options, such as:
- Debt consolidation loans
- Debt consolidation programs
- Consumer proposals
Looking for credit counselling in Saskatchewan? Take a look at this article.
Check out this infographic for a detailed look at how credit scores are calculated.
When is the Right Time To Seek Credit Counselling in Regina?
While credit counselling may seem reserved for Regina residents who are in bad financial positions, as we mentioned, the advice of a credit counsellor is something anyone can benefit from. Even if you are in good financial health, you can always speak to a counsellor just to gain additional knowledge. They won’t show you to the door just because you don’t have debt problems. There is certainly no wrong time to seek credit counselling in Regina.
Before It’s Too Late
All this being said, the “right” time to consider this type of service really depends on how bad your financial situation happens to be. Essentially, you should go to credit counselling in Regina Saskatchewan before it’s too late. Getting ahead of any financial issues you might be having is the best way to make sure they don’t spiral out of control.
For instance, credit counselling is likely the right choice when:
- Your level of consumer and/or household debt is getting dangerously high.
- Creditors and debt collection agencies are hounding you for payment.
- You generally have a hard time saving and keeping track of your money.
- You’re considering more drastic measures, such as filing for a consumer proposal or bankruptcy.
Will Credit Counselling in Regina Affect My Credit?
One of the best parts about credit counselling is that the process itself will not affect your credit score or credit report as a whole. However, it’s important to realize that by going through credit counselling, you may end up entering a type of service or program that will, for example, a debt consolidation program.
Debt Consolidation Program
Remember, a credit counsellor can refer you to various debt relief options. So, let’s use one of the more common services they can help with; debt consolidation. Generally reserved for those with multiple outstanding debts, possibly through multiple creditors, the goal of debt consolidation is to eliminate several debts at once, resulting in a single monthly payment to keep track of.
If necessary, your counsellor can help you enter a debt consolidation program, wherein they will reach out to your creditors on your behalf and negotiate a plan for you to pay back at least a large portion of your debts. We say “a large portion” because certain secured debts, like mortgage payments, aren’t eligible for consolidation, while unsecured debts, like credit card bills, are eligible. If the program is accepted, you’ll make monthly payments toward your counsellor, who will send them to your creditors, until your full debt is repaid.
Now, one of the issues with debt consolidation programs is that they will show up on your credit report for several years following completion and may also negatively affect your credit score during that time. Here’s a basic timeline for what could happen:
- If acceptable, your creditors will report your program to one of Canada’s two main credit bureaus (Equifax or TransUnion), who will update your report accordingly.
- If your creditors report the debt as having been paid off in full, your credit score won’t be affected positively or negatively.
- However, if they report it as “settled”, meaning you only paid a portion of what you owed, your credit score will decrease.
- This decrease may be significant enough to drop you into the “bad credit” range, especially if you didn’t already have good credit.
- As a possible result, that bad credit, coupled with your debt consolidation program being listed in your credit report, may prevent you from gaining approval when you apply for new credit in the years following.
- If lenders do approve you, it may be at a much higher interest rate, due to your heightened level of riskiness, which may ultimately give you further debt and credit problems down the line.
Make sure that you ask your counsellor everything you can about any of their relief options before you choose to apply. Don’t worry though, getting simple advice from them won’t harm your finances and may even be free of charge.
How Can I Choose The Best Credit Counsellor?
Before you sign up with the first credit counsellor or counselling agency you come across, there are a few factors to take into consideration, as it should be with any financial product or service. When choosing a credit counselling service, make sure to take the following steps:
- Do a lot of research into both nonprofit and for-profit organizations (some services don’t charge you a fee, while others will).
- Read about any complaints or negative reviews. If the complaints seem to be serious, it might be better to avoid them.
- If money is tight, a nonprofit agency is a good place to start.
- Your first consultation should be free, whether the counsellor is for-profit or not. If you do choose a for-profit, during the consultation, make sure to ask them what they charge, then compare those prices with other services.
- During your consultation, feel free to ask them any questions you need and explain your financial situation to them. If you feel they aren’t answering your questions properly or don’t seem to care about your situation, walk away.
- Make sure your chosen counsellor has their proper certification and that their business has a valid license to operate in Saskatchewan.
How long will credit counselling take? Find out here.
Looking For Credit Counselling in Regina?
At Loans Canada, understand your financial needs and can help you deal with your debt problems by referring you to the right credit counselling service for your lifestyle. Contact us today for more information.