Debunking Myths About Debt Management Plans
Posted 5/21/2024 by Lisa Ohnemus

Debunking Myths About Debt Management Plans

Debt management plans (DMPs) are a popular tool for individuals looking to regain control of their finances. However, misinformation about them can prevent people from taking advantage of these beneficial programs. Let's debunk some of the most common myths surrounding debt management plans.

Myth 1: Debt Management Plans are the Same as Debt Settlement

Reality: Debt management plans and debt settlement are not the same. A DMP involves working with a credit counseling agency to consolidate and manage your debts, making one monthly payment to the agency, which then pays your creditors. In contrast, debt settlement involves negotiating with creditors to reduce the total debt owed, which can significantly damage your credit score and result in potential tax liabilities.

Myth 2: Enrolling in a Debt Management Plan Will Ruin Your Credit Score

Reality: While enrolling in a DMP might cause a temporary dip in your credit score, the long-term impact is generally positive. Your credit score can improve as you make consistent payments and reduce debt. Moreover, creditors often view being on a DMP more favorably than missing payments or defaulting on your debts.

Myth 3: Debt Management Plans are Only for People with Severe Debt Problems

Reality: DMPs are not exclusively for those in severe financial distress. They suit anyone struggling to manage their debts and seeking a structured way to pay them off. Whether you have a moderate or significant debt, a DMP can help you create a manageable repayment plan.

Myth 4: You Can’t Use Credit While on a Debt Management Plan

Reality: While it's true that you'll typically need to stop using credit cards included in the DMP, this doesn't mean you can't use credit at all. Many people on DMPs find they can still use other forms of credit, such as car loans or mortgages, as long as they demonstrate responsible financial behavior.

Myth 5: Debt Management Plans are Expensive

Reality: Most reputable credit counseling agencies charge modest fees and offer free initial consultations. The cost of a DMP is usually far less than the potential savings from reduced interest rates and waived fees negotiated by the agency. Additionally, the benefits of having a structured plan to pay off your debt often outweigh the nominal fees.

Myth 6: Debt Management Plans are a Scam

Reality: While fraudulent companies exist, many legitimate and non-profit credit counseling agencies offer reputable debt management plans. Researching and working with a certified and accredited agency ensures you receive legitimate help.

Myth 7: You Can't Get Out of a Debt Management Plan Once You Start

Reality: Enrolling in a DMP is voluntary; you can leave the program anytime. However, it's important to consider the consequences of doing so, such as losing the benefits of negotiated interest rates and fees. Most agencies will work with you to adjust your plan if you encounter financial difficulties.

Myth 8: Debt Management Plans Solve All Financial Problems

Reality: While a DMP can be a powerful tool for managing and paying off debt, it's not a cure-all. Successful debt management also requires a commitment to changing spending habits and creating a sustainable budget. It’s essential to combine a DMP with broader financial education and planning.

Debt management plans (DMPs) are valuable resources for individuals looking to regain control over their financial lives. By debunking these myths, we hope to provide a clearer understanding of what DMPs can offer and how they can be effectively utilized. If you’re considering a DMP, contact us at 800-955-5765 to speak to a credit counselor.  You can also schedule an appointment at