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GreenPath Financial Wellness Review 2020

Jan. 13, 2020
Paying Off Debt
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gp-logo-web-articlecropGreenPath Financial Wellness is one of the country’s largest credit counseling agencies, with branches in 22 states and services available nationally over the phone and online.

The agency may be a good fit if you:

  • Are looking for a debt management plan you can access online
  • Need bankruptcy counseling; GreenPath’s prices for bankruptcy counseling are lower than average
  • Want in-person access to services; GreenPath has locations in 22 states

GreenPath’s services and fees

Like most nonprofit credit counseling agencies, GreenPath provides common services that differ in fees and availability. These services include:

General budgeting and advice: You and a counselor comb through your finances and set personalized goals in a free session that lasts around an hour.

Debt management plan: A counselor creates a plan to consolidate your consumer debts and lower the interest rate, setting up one monthly payment to erase the debt over three to five years.

Bankruptcy counseling: Two court-mandated sessions: one before you file and one before your debts are discharged. Both services are available online and over the phone.

Student loans: A counselor outlines your repayment options and may contact your issuer on your behalf for an additional fee.

Housing counseling: Support is available for a number of housing decisions, including homebuyer assistance programs, people struggling to afford their mortgage or rent and homeowners considering reverse mortgages.

Counseling services available at GreenPath:

GreenPath ServiceFee
General budgeting and advice
  • Free
Debt management plan:
  • Maximum $50 startup fee; the average is $35
  • Monthly fee of up to $75; the average is $29
Bankruptcy counseling:
  • Pre-filing: $25 online, $35 over the phone
  • Pre-discharge: $15 online, $25 over the phone
Student loans:
  • $50 for Tier 1 or $200 for Tier 2
  • Housing counseling:
    • Free to $199, depending on the service

    How GreenPath compares

    Most credit counseling agencies offer the same general services. How they differ generally comes down to where they operate, how they’re accredited and price. Here’s how GreenPath stacks up:

    Accreditation An outside body ensures standards of practice among counselors and oversight for agencies.Accredited by the Council on Accreditation and a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
    Online support
    Counseling services and educational resources are available on GreenPath's website.
    Completion rate of debt management plans
    The percentage of clients who complete the program after enrolling.
    About 50%
    AvailabilityThe agency operates in all 50 states.

    GreenPath’s debt management plan

    A debt management plan is a debt relief option that helps people get a handle on consumer debt, primarily credit card bills. Debts are rolled into a single monthly payment with lower interest rates. Note that interest rate cuts are standardized across credit counseling agencies, based on your creditors’ guidelines and your budget.

    In return, you agree to a payment plan that fits your budget, usually for three to five years. You likely won’t be able to use credit cards or open new lines of credit for the duration of the DMP. There’s little room for missed payments once you’re enrolled in a plan; if you miss a payment, your creditors may drop accounts from the program, ending the lowered interest rate and leaving you to deal with debt on your own.

    A debt management plan can save you time and money over paying off the debt on your own. Here’s an example based on the average GreenPath client with credit card debt:

     Debt management plan
    DIY debt paydown
    *Figured at the average monthly fee of $29. Includes startup fee of $35.
    Amount of debt
    Interest rate
    Monthly payment
    $511 ($482 to debt, $29 to monthly program fee) $511
    Time to pay off
    41 months
    50 months
    CostInterest: $2,408
    Fees: $1,137*
    Interest: $8,546

    When to consider a DMP:

    • If you’re struggling to make monthly payments on your consumer debt.
    • If your consumer debt is between 15% and 50% of your annual income.
    • If you think you can pay it off within five years.
    • If you don’t qualify for a debt consolidation loan.

    A DMP isn’t always the best option for debt relief.

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