Workers’ compensation injuries and financial difficulties often go hand-in-hand. We had a client in his late 60s who decided to mortgage his house to pay for his grandson’s college education, but then suffered a serious workplace injury. Unfortunately, his grandson was unable to find a job and our client was about to lose his home of 30 years. He made an unwise financial decision late in life. Fortunately, we were able to obtain a lump sum settlement that avoided the disaster about to happen.
Counseling services are available to help people learn to budget and pay their bills. Credit unions, cooperative extension offices, military family service centers and religious organizations may offer services for free or at a minimal cost to qualified low-income consumers and homeowners. According to www.usa.gov (www.usa.gov/topics/money/credit/debt/out-of-control.shtml) local non-profit agencies that provide educational programs on money management operate under the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS). Debtors should make sure the agency is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Generally, credit counselors look at the debtors’ overall financial situation and help them create a money management plan and a debt pay-down plan and can provide workshops related to money management. For debtors who are forthcoming about their financial situation and commit to the plan, credit counseling with a trustworthy counselor can be a positive experience. While we do not specifically endorse any financial planning group, national programs include Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a biblically based program (www.daveramsey.com/fpu) and local sources of consumer financial education include Triangle – Consumer Credit Counseling (919-821-0790) and CCCS, A Division Of Triangle Family Services, Inc. (919-821-1770).