Easy access to credit and a lifestyle that demands instant gratification has led to most Americans living far beyond their means. Sooner or later, many of them find themselves mired in debt, which they cannot manage. This situation needs immediate attention and most people are completely clueless about how to go about it. This has made debt counselors much sought after as they are competent to deal with complicated debt situations and help people to manage their cash in such a way that they can get rid of their debt effectively.
Role of a Debt Counselor
Debt counselors, also known as credit counselors, provide advisory services to their clients to enable them to learn better money management skills so that they are able to get out the debt trap in the short-term and in the long-term, safeguarding their financial security. In order to be able to assist their clients, debt counselors need to be able to understand the overall financial situation of the client. This calls for an analysis of the income and cash flow of the client, the value of assets owned, the nature and amount of debt outstanding as well as the interest rates applicable.
The intention of obtaining and understanding the financial details of the client is to enable a determination of the best course of action that can be recommended to the client to manage the situation. The amount that the client can afford to service the debt per month will determine whether the client will benefit from a simple debt consolidation exercise or need advanced debt relief measures or even file for bankruptcy. To effectively discharge their duties, credit counselors will need to interact with the client’s creditors, negotiate with them, offer legal advice and support them in any legal proceedings. Every good credit counselor is also expected to offer emotional support to clients stressed about their financial situation.
More specifically, credit counselors will assist clients to make a detailed list of their sources of income and monthly expenses to enable arriving at the net income that can be allocated to debt servicing. They will then help clients to prioritize the debts and develop budgets that they can follow every month. They will also evaluate the client’s financial situation and advise them of the best way of managing their debt. Advanced assistance may extend to negotiating with creditors as well as ways of approaching the courts to file for bankruptcy if so required. With such a large number of competencies, debt consolidation option for students as a career is ideal for those who are passionate about financial advisory services.
Does Credit Counseling Suit You?
Now that you know what credit counseling entails, you need to determine if this career suits your skills, personality, and interests. Ideally, to enjoy a fulfilling career as a debt consolidator, you should be extremely interested in assisting people to put their finances back in order, enjoy advising others in a logical and scientific manner, have very good ability to gather and analyze financial information, have good interpersonal skills and the ability to listen to the problems of your clients, and enjoy negotiating better deals for them.
A career in credit counseling requires proficiency in financial matters as well as a high degree of interpersonal skills. While there are no standard educational requirements that employers follow, you will very likely need a bachelor’s degree, preferably in finance, accounting, economics, etc. because the field in very competitive and these subjects can provide you a better appreciation of the dimensions of the various financial concerns that plague your clients. You can also have a very satisfying career in debt consolidation if you are able to appreciate finance and have a degree in social work, psychology, human ecology, etc. because providing emotion counseling to stressed clients is also a very important aspect of this job. Additionally, you will also need a professional certification as required by the state of your residence. Beware of applying for jobs with only a high school education and no work experience because you will find career growth very difficult when competing with other more qualified candidates.
A career in debt consolidation can be extremely fulfilling for those who enjoy delving into the financial problems of others and advising them of the best course of action to get out of the mess. A very high degree of empathy and interpersonal skills, as well as technical knowledge is required for candidates to be successful in this intensely competitive field.
Author bio: Martin Henderson is a career counselor at a leading private management institute. He recommends debt consolidation option for students who have broad-based interests and possess very good interpersonal skills.