to prepare for financial counseling
by Keith Rawlinson
If you are
having difficulty understanding or implementing the things you are
learning here on Eclecticsite.com's Financial Page, or if things just
don't seem to be working the way they should, it may be time to see a
counselor. If you are in the Savannah, Ohio area, you can contact me to
schedule a counseling session. If you are not in the
Savannah, Ohio area, you can always go to Crown.org and
check out their counselor
referrals. You can also go to Dave Ramsey's website
and check out his counselor
Wherever you find a counselor, just remember that you are looking for a
financial or budget counselor
not a financial adviser
Counselors are generally there to help you deal with
problems, or with getting out of debt. Financial advisers or
brokers are generally there to sell you investment products and help
you figure out how to invest your money for the future. The
easiest way to make sure you don't get it wrong, is to choose a
counselor who in no way tries to sell you anything. This
investments, loans, insurance, etc. Also, at this point, you
not looking for anyone affiliated with Consumer Credit Counseling or any kind of debt-reduction companies who
you to send them money or payments. Also do not get involved with
organizations like Primerica.
What to expect
of all, the counselor is not there to reprimand you or make you feel
bad for getting into debt or financial difficulty. The
is there to help you discover your mistakes, solve problems, and change
your habits and thus your financial future. Many counselors,
myself being one of them, will also help you to deal with and eliminate
debt. If, after two or three sessions, the
counselor is consistently dwelling on past mistakes and making you feel
ashamed rather than hopeful, you may want to look for a different
counselor. A good counselor should tell you what you've done wrong in
the past, but should then show you where you could be in the future if
you start doing things right. In other words, after one or
two counseling sessions, you should have a feeling of hope,
despair. The counselor should not look down on you, or think
poorly of you because you need counseling. A good counselor
be impressed that you have the wisdom and determination to get
counseling and get yourself on the road to financial freedom.
you are seriously injured, you go to a doctor, right? You
try to fix it yourself, right? Because you know that the
knows things you don't and is there to help you. Well, it's
different with a financial counselor. The counselor knows
you don't and is there to help you. As with the doctor, it is
smarter to get help when you need it rather than trying to fix it
yourself. If you are smart enough to go to a financial counselor when
you are having financial difficulty--then go!
introductions and any necessary pre-counseling paperwork, the counselor
will initiate a conversation and ask you some questions about your life
and your finances. The counselor will begin collecting
information about your financial situation in order to figure out what
went wrong and what to do next. No matter what questions the
counselor asks, always answer the questions honestly and completely
even if the answers are somewhat embarrassing for you. If you
don't provide direct, honest answers, the counselor may give you the
wrong information or advice. In my counseling sessions, I
tell my clients that it does no good to lie to your doctor,
lawyer or your budget counselor. Pride is expensive.
What to take
In order to make your first
counseling session efficient and effective, make sure you take with you
the following information:
A list of all of your
This does not mean a total of what you owe in debt, this
itemized list of each debtor you owe, how much you owe them and what
your payment is to each individual debtor.
A list of your
assets and their values. This means such things
as real estate,
stocks, investments, bank accounts, trust funds, retirement accounts,
boats, vehicles, collectibles, etc.
Finally, and most
importantly, make sure you fill out the Financial Survey and
take the results with you.
During your sessions, the counselor will let you know if anything
further is needed.
all of the necessary information is collected, the counselor will give
you some advice on the spot, take some time to devise a personalized
plan for you, or both.
can't do it for you
the counselor can give you some wonderful advice and techniques for
dealing with finances, always remember that the counselor can't do it
for you. You
have to follow the advice. You have to stay
with it. You
have to fix your own financial problems. I've been asked on
several occasions what is the biggest problem I have in doing financial
counseling. I don't even have to think about the answer:
the biggest problem I have in financial counseling is getting
people to follow the plan and stay with it. Getting out of
is not easy. Saving up money is not easy. Following
budget is not easy. Becoming wealthy is not easy.
are these things not easy, they take time--sometimes, a lot of time!
After seeing how much effort is involved, I've had clients
out of a sessions and never do any
of the things I suggested. I've also had many people give up
they find out that I don't have any magic pill that's going to solve
their financial problems in a month or two. On average, just
dealing with debt issues takes two or three years. So, make
that you give your counselor's advice plenty of time to work.
Things get better slowly but consistently. It may
very difficult at first, but it generally gets easier and easier as you
go along. The first three to six months might be almost
unbearable, but the final year might be a piece of cake. I'm
telling you this to scare you away from counseling, I'm telling you
this so that you will understand that deciding to eliminate debt and
put yourself on the road to becoming wealthy will not be easy; but, will be worth it!
Please know that all of the thoughts, information,
and techniques given on this site are nothing more than the author's
the matter being addressed. Do further research before making
This article copyright © 2007 by Keith C. Rawlinson
(Eclecticsite.com). All rights reserved.
This article may be copied for non-profit use including newsletters,
as long as you
first get written permission from the author and full credit
which includes the author's name
and the name of this website.