It is always a good idea to think carefully and consider all your options before you commit to any sort of financial transaction, especially when you are looking to take out a finance deal.
There are all sorts of questions and considerations that should be reviewed and checked before you sign on the dotted line.
Actions such as reviewing Lending Tree’s service, for example, will help you understand and appreciate who you are starting a financial relationship with and what it involves, and there are lots of other points to consider too.
Here are some pointers on what to look out for and what you need to know.
The first question starts with you
A fundamental point that should be at the front of your mind when you are considering the idea of seeking out some professional financial guidance is to consider what type of help you actually need and want.
If you need help in sorting out how to attain some financial goals and make more use of the money that you have available, that is an entirely different sphere of financial assistance compared to getting help with regard to a debt situation and working your options to get your finances back on track.
Not all advice is impartial
Another key point to note is that financial advisors can sometimes be tied to selling certain financial products that they get a commission from rather than being able to search the whole of the market to find exactly what you need.
Always ask a financial advisor how they are getting paid and what they are charging in terms of fees, so that you know what their suggestions are going to cost you and whether you are being shown all of the available options or only the ones that they can sell you.
If you are paying someone to sort out your financial situation you want to know how they get paid and what it is going to cost you.
If you are struggling with debt
If your financial problems are more about trying to get some relief from your debt situation a similar questioning approach is required to ensure that you find the right resolution and choose the right path to get the appropriate help needed.
For instance, if you find yourself in a situation where your credit card debts have become unmanageable you will want to find a way to consolidate what you owe, reduce the balance in a disciplined way and eliminate it over a period of time.
There are financial professionals who are adept at dealing with this sort of situation and might be able to negotiate a repayment program or attain a better rate deal with the card provider on your behalf.
It may well be that you need to complete an overhaul of your finances and do some refinancing in order to create a household budget that works for you and allows you to improve your financial situation over a period of time.
Asking for the right help with your credit card debts could be the solution that your financial situation requires.
Fee or free?
Another important question to ask is whether the credit counseling and assistance you are being offered is free or if there is a fee that needs to be paid.
It can often be the case that nonprofit organizations will give you a certain amount of credit counseling for free, whereas some agencies that offer advice in this area might be charging for their services.
You need to know whether there is a fee or you are getting some help for free, so ask the question when you approach someone who is offering to assist with your financial issues.
Another option to consider would be the idea of consolidating your loans into one monthly payment.
There are debt management companies and lenders who offer debt consolidation loans and these can sometimes reduce your total monthly debt repayment figure and you might be able to get finance at a lower rate than you are paying now.
Like any form of debt program or potential escape route, it is an option that you should consider carefully and it is wise to check the terms of any deal you are being offered before accepting a loan offer.
Check to see if the monthly payment is more realistic and in line with your current income and expenditure and clarify how long the deal lasts for and what sort of interest rate you are being charged on the loan.
Debt management plan
Another option that might be suggested when you seek out some professional help is a debt management plan.
This does what it says on the tin and is a plan that is produced to help you get your financial situation in better shape going forward.
If you go to see a credit counselor this is an option that is favored by a number of them and the ultimate aim is to clear your debts as well as reducing your burden in terms of interest rates and fees.
It is not an arrangement that you enter into lightly as a debt management plan is a commitment to repay what you owe over a specific period of time. Therefore, it is essential that you ask about the terms of the arrangement and confirm with the credit counselor that it is a proposal that you are comfortable with and can afford to keep to.
It should be noted that if you don’t see the debt management plan out to the end and the agreement is canceled you will most likely lose any concessions made by your creditors such as waiving of fees and an offer of a lower interest rate.
Whether you are seeking out professional help to make better use of your income and savings or need some guidance on how to clear your debts and what options are available to you, the same principle applies.
That is, the need to ask plenty of questions and thoroughly read through any paperwork you are given before you sign and agree to the offer or proposal.