Make no mistake about it. Depending on where you live in the United States, there are many bad debt support groups available. The problem is they’re not all created equal. Some bad debt support groups function more like sales programs than an actual support group. Some function more like a get together of friends, and outsiders are obviously made to feel unwelcome. In between these extremes are actually useful support groups.
If you want to increase your likelihood of hooking up with the right debt support groups, pay attention to the following hallmarks. This is not an exhaustive list. But at the very least, they point to the right direction. Pay attention to these because they increase the likelihood that you would get in touch with the right group that would enable you to get the right resources and tools that will help you resolve your problems.
Don’t expect any overnight miracles, mind you. Joining a debt support group is just one step in the long road to financial recovery.
Your bad personal financial health is due to your habits. I hate to break it to you. I know that you don’t want to hear it. I know that this might be a blow to the ego and it might cause some discomfort. But if you want to truly make progress, you need to get over your denial. You need to set aside your ego and focus on what works.
A real helpful group is very open. In other words, they focus on truly helping others who share the problems everybody in the group suffers from. They don’t judge people. They don’t make you feel stigmatized. You don’t get a feeling that the group is simply just a small clique of people who already like each other.
Instead, you notice a really warm reception and openness to people who aren’t already in the group. Instead, they look at your problems and they see themselves in you. That’s the kind of impression you should be looking for.
They Focus on Solutions
Real helpful groups never judge and they never stigmatize. They don’t make a distinction between the person who is struggling with a hundred thousand dollars in debt and the person struggling with ten million dollars in debt. In their eyes, you’re both in the same hole and you’re both suffering equally. In other words, there’s no ranking involved. The focus, instead, is on solutions.
Make no mistake about it. A lot of the solutions that work for people who owe ten million dollars would work for people who owe ten thousand or a hundred thousand dollars.
Light Yet Focused Environment
When you go into any kind of support group, one of the most intimidating experiences you will ever have is when you feel that it’s so serious. In fact, the atmosphere can be so thick that you can cut it with a butter knife. That is no good. Why?
It’s very easy to freak out. It’s very easy to think that whatever challenges you’re facing are so daunting and so difficult that it’s too easy to get weighed down. You don’t want that. You want to stay away from that.
Instead, you want to join a group that is optimistic yet focused. In other words, you walk away feeling, “Yes, I can make progress. Yes, I can break out of this tough problem that I have.” Put simply, you feel focused, but you also feel empowered.
They Set Up Accountability Mechanisms
There are many debt support groups that can give you all the right information, and they can give you a lot of emotional support. This is all well and good. But the problem is if there is no accountability mechanism, it’s very hard to follow up on the benefits that you get from those two factors. In fact, it’s very easy to join a group where you’re constantly going back to square one. It’s like a long series of lectures that really don’t get anywhere.
When you deal with a group that actually pairs you with a buddy who holds you accountable, then it’s very easy to see how this can lead somewhere. When you are paired with somebody with the same problems, who is pushing you to make progress, and you are expected to push that person to make progress, it’s easier for both of you to make progress.
This is why you should insist on looking for a bad debt support group that has an accountability buddy system or some sort of mechanism that forces its members to account for their actions and produce real results.
You have to remember that you’re not looking for psychological counseling. You’re not looking for a long drawn out therapy session. Instead, you’re looking for a system that produces tangible results in as little time as possible.