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Research Tip: Manage Your Finances

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Credit counseling agencies can help you to evaluate your personal finances, develop a budget and manage debt, but it can be difficult to distinguish legitimate, affordable counseling agencies from companies that make dubious claims and charge hidden fees. The following resources will help you to choose a reputable agency that can help you meet your financial goals:

Federal Trade Commission: Choosing a Credit Counselor
This article gives advice on what to expect from a credit counselor and explains the difference between the services offered by a credit counseling agency and those offered by debt negotiation firms, which claim that they can persuade creditors to accept reduced amount debt. 

HUD Approved Counseling Agencies
Find a list of counseling agencies that meet the quality standards of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD focuses on low and no-cost housing counseling services, but many of the approved firms offer affordable credit counseling as well.

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