If you are what is called "risk averse" you will probably be a nervous wreck if you put all your money into high risk shares. By learning to manage your risk levels you can ensure that you only select positions you will feel comfortable with over the medium to long term life of your portfolio. Poor credit requires you to explain how you came to be in arrears and, just as importantly, why things are going to be different now. You see both the banks and the loan companies understand that from time to time anyone can fall on hard times. That's especially true with the current economic situation. To be clear it is not a way to just write off your outstanding credit or to walk away scot free from your financial obligations. No, it is a service offered by some companies to reduce the amount of your overall credit bill. Consolidation service is the name used by many of these companies to describe a service where by they will negotiate with your creditors. Well the answer is yes and no. Let me explain. There is no guarantee that an organization offering bill consolidation services will be any better just because they're non profit. Consolidation of debts is a complicated matter and it requires clear thinking and some tough negotiation skills. So yes, a non profit may charge you less but they could still end up costing you more if their people aren't good at reducing your monthly or weekly payments. As part of assessing your own comfort level you will want to feel comfortable that you can afford to risk losing the money that you are planning to invest. Obviously you don't want to lose it but if you absolutely can't afford to then you should look for something which carries a significantly lower level of risk. Was it a problem with your job? Was it down to ill health? You also need to explain what has changed now and how you will be able to meet the new payments. Try not to be over optimistic here. And for goodness sake tell them the truth, if you don't they will almost certainly find out and you'll fail. They're trained to spot lying by applicants.