Should One Consider Debt Consolidation?
For people facing substantial debt, credit consolidation may be the best solution. This gives the debtor the ability to manage unmanageable debts by combining multiple monthly payments into one payment that fits better into their budget. Consumers who are carrying a high debt load and struggling to make their monthly payments on credit cards and other unsecured debts may benefit from credit consolidation.
Start by Talking to a Debt Counsellor
Before considering debt consolidation you should contact a debt counsellor to discuss your financial options. Debt consolidation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many ways to approach and manage debt to get the best results for your individual situation, and a debt counsellor can help you think through these options. You shouldn’t join a debt consolidation program without talking to a debt counsellor first.
Consider a Debt Management Program
One possible low cost option is entering a debt management program through a non-profit credit counselling organization. When you enrol, a professionally trained credit counsellor will contact your creditors, on your behalf, to negotiate a lower interest rate and reduce your minimum payments to something you can afford. Then, to alleviate any further stress, the credit counselling organization will combine all of your payments into one easy monthly payment, which you will send to them and they will send to your creditors. Some debt management programs even offer auto draft, which makes debt repayment hassle free.
With a debt management program, you will be paying less interest, which means more of your monthly payment will go towards the principal. This allows you to get out of debt much faster than if you were trying to do it on your own. Because of this, many of these debt management programs will advertise that they will save you thousands. They are not actually lowering the amount you owe, but they are lowering what you will pay by negotiating a lower interest rate for you.
Keep in mind that these services are not free. The company handling your debt has a staff to pay and offices to maintain, so they will charge a fee to cover these needs. The fee varies from company to company, so be sure to inquire about the cost before you apply for the program.
Debt Consolidation Loans
Another option to deal with unmanageable debt is to take out a debt consolidation loan, use it to pay off the total sum of all outstanding debts at once, and then just repay the loan monthly. Often the monthly payment on a debt consolidation loan is less than the combined monthly payments on your existing debts, which can make your debt more manageable. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying any service fees and interest, which may range from 5 to 18% of the loan itself depending on your circumstances and credit score.
Many debt consolidation loans require you to use some form of collateral, such as a house or car, to secure the loan, particularly if your credit score is low. This can be a great solution if you want to eliminate calls from creditors and improve your credit history quickly, but if you miss any payments you could be putting your home or car at risk. Also, if you add to your debt after taking out the debt consolidation loan, you will be face even more difficult money problems. The only way a debt consolidation loan will help is if you can stop adding to your debt.
If you are having problems managing your bills and debts each month, you will probably save money be enrolling in a credit consolidation program or taking out a debt consolidation loan. Many communities have low cost options to help you manage your budget more effectively in order to increase your financial stability and eliminate creditors’ harassing calls and letters while establishing a healthier credit history.