Clearpoint’s free and confidential Budget and Credit Counseling can help you achieve important financial goals like improving your credit, paying down debt, and buying a home. Below you’ll find details on our counseling process, including what happens before, during, and after your session.
Step 1: Get Started
Gather your information.
To make the most of your counseling session, we recommend that you gather the following information:
- A list of your monthly income sources
- A list of your expenses, such as food, utilities, gas, clothing, gifts and other miscellaneous expenses
- Your most recent credit card statements
- Any correspondence you’ve had with collection agencies or the I.R.S.
- Any questions you have for your counselor
- Any specific financial goals you have, like saving to buy a home, buying a car, preparing for retirement, etc.
Sound like work? If you select an online session, our form will guide you through gathering and submitting your income and expense details.
Choose how you want to be counseled.
You’ll then choose how you’d like to receive your counseling. Clearpoint offers three options; pick the one that works best for you:
An online session is a great way to receive counseling at your own pace and without having to schedule an appointment. Online sessions can be conducted entirely online and through email or, if you prefer, you can get started online and then complete your session via phone. You’ll begin your session by submitting a form that allows you to input your income and expenses, along with other details about your situation that your counselor will need. Within one business day your counselor will reach out to you via email or phone, whichever you select as your preference.
We have phone counselors waiting to help, Monday–Friday, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET. If you’d like to be counseled over the phone, give us a call at 877.877.1995 when you’re ready. If for some reason a counselor is unavailable to assist you immediately, we’ll gladly schedule a phone session for a later time.
We have counselors ready to help you in many cities across the country. If you’d prefer to meet with a counselor in person, check out our list of locations and call us to schedule an appointment at the office nearest you.
Now that you’re prepared and have made contact with us, it’s time to start your session.
Step 2: Meet with Your Credit Counselor
Your counselor will begin your session by reviewing your current situation, including:
- Your income
- Your expenses
- Your debt
With your permission, we’ll also pull and review your credit report and FICO credit score. When we pull your report it is considered an “educational pull.” Pulling your credit report in this way does not affect your credit-worthiness and will help us get a much clearer picture of your situation, enabling us to provide you with valuable insights.
In addition to discussing any questions and other documents you’ve brought to the session, you and your counselor will talk about your financial goals. Typical goals include:
- Improving your credit
- Getting out of debt
- Buying a home
- Buying a car
- Saving for emergencies
- Funding retirement
- Sending your children to college
- Planning for a vacation
Having discussed your current situation and goals, your counselor will now be able to help you develop a financial plan of action.
Step 3: Develop a Budget and Action Plan
You and your credit counselor will work together to develop a plan to guide you to your financial goals. Your counselor will offer insights and recommendations based on your particular situation and may, among other things, suggest that you try a debt management program, suggest that you speak with an attorney, brainstorm ways to increase your income and cut your expenses, or even refer you to other resources. Clearpoint is committed to doing what’s in your best interest, and your counselor will make his or her recommendations accordingly.
Step 4: Review and Execute Your Action Plan
Following your counseling session, your counselor will provide a digital or printed packet that contains:
- A written overview of your current financial picture
- Your action plan, detailing your personal goals and corresponding strategies to meet them
- Our Guide to Financial Achievement, which covers important elements of money management like understanding your credit score and assessing your debt-to-income ratio
The next step is to put these strategies into practice. Paying down your debt and improving your finances is an immensely rewarding journey. Along the way, you’ll develop better money habits that will enable you to maintain financial stability while you work toward your dreams.
Step 5: Follow Up
Your counselor will follow up with you in 5–7 business days to make sure that you’ve started off on the right foot. Later, should your circumstances change and you find that you’re struggling to stick with your plan, you can schedule a follow up session. Your counselor can then help you make adjustments to your budget, provide encouragement and answer additional questions you might have. Achieving financial goals can sometimes seem tough, but we’re committed to doing everything we can to help you succeed.Read more about credit counseling »
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