Counselor Q&A with Jamel M.
Before Jamel worked with Consolidated Credit, he worked for a credit card company – so he knows the business. Being a certified credit counselor is the best job he’s ever had.
“This job, based off of life experiences alone, is something you can take any aspect of and apply it to your life,” he says. “You learn how to budget and how to build credit. If you want to look into purchasing a home, there’s a housing department. This is a pure reality of life job, it’s the most useful job I’ve ever had in my life. Definitely, number one.”
What’s your favorite part about being a certified credit counselor?
“I like helping people prepare and review their budgets. It’s satisfying, because people are telling you, ‘Look, this is what happened and I need help with debt. I like the satisfaction that I can help people trim fat from their budget.’”
How has this job helped with your personal finances?
“Now that I have children, it’s helped me a great deal in regards to budgeting and planning for the future,” he says.
What’s the most memorable call you’ve received?
“I remember a woman who called and said she was in credit card debt strictly from helping her grown children. ‘Oh my son needed this, I got it for him and he’s not paying me back like he said he would.’ The kids were 23 and 29 years old and the client was $8,000 to $10,000 in debt.”
What’s the objective of a debt management program?
“The main thing about this program is while we want clients to get their debt paid off, we also want them to live better afterwards,” he says. “Because clients don’t have access to credit cards while they’re on the program, it helps them prove to themselves that they can actually live on cash only.”
There’s always a reason why people fall into debt. What’s the most common reason you’ve heard?
“Poor money management. People often say, ‘I went out of control shopping,’” he says. “Often people have their hours at work reduced, or they become unemployed, or their overtime was cut. ”
How do you help clients when they call?
“I tell them, ‘Everything is going to be OK, let’s go through your budget and see if we can work something for you,’” he says. “The first thing they’ll say is, ‘they’ll take my house, my car, they’re going to throw me in jail.’”
The they these clients are referring to are creditors and debt collectors. Jamel says such threats in an attempt to collect a debt are illegal.
He also says: “As long as you have unsecured debt and your mortgage is current, you don’t have to worry about these threats. The most they can do is put a judgment in against you. If you have to go to court and the judge sees you don’t have any money, they can’t make you pay what you don’t have.”
What’s the nicest thing a graduate from the program has ever said to you?
“Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for saving my marriage. Majority of the people say thank you for getting me on the right path.”
How does hearing that make you feel?
“It makes me feel like I have a purpose,” he says. “It’s nice to hear once in a while, ‘Thank you, Jamel, you set me and my family on the right path, and now we’re going to live on a cash-only diet. You know that’s a good day, and it definitely makes me feel even better about what I do for a living.”
To avoid falling in a debt trap of your own Jamel says…
“Live within your means, spend less than you make and don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.”
Need help trimming fat from your budget? Consolidated Credit can help
A debt management program will not only help you get out of debt, it will also help you improve your overall financial life. If you need to go on a debt diet, dial our certified credit counselors will set you on the right path. Or, to find out how much debt you’re in, take our free Debt & Budget Analysis online.