Debt consolidation is the act and process of taking out one loan to pay off many other loans and bills like credit card bills or student loans. The main aim of debt consolidation is to basically reduce the total amount of loan repayment through interest rate reduction.
Many debt consolidation companies, programs and services have argued the benefits and advantages of debt consolidation when one is in cycle of debts. But the question is:
Is debt consolidation really useful in helping people get out of their debt problems?
While I agree that debt consolidation can help debtors solve their debt problems, many debtors really have much difficulty to get out of their debt problems even after they consolidate their debts.
Why is that so??
Think about it – Most of these debt consolidators are in debt problems because they spend on credit and are used to spending more than they can afford to. As such, they eventually run into debts in the long run since they are always spending more than they earn every month.
After debt consolidation, these debt consolidators will have their credit card balance clear and a single monthly loan payment (with extended repayment period). With a lighter loan repayment amount, most of these people will begin to relax and usually over spend on their monthly budget again in the near future.
By doing so, they will eventually run into debts again. Thus, it is not surprising to see many people who have had consolidate their debts before to run into debt problems again.
How does one get out of debts?
Debt consolidation is a tool to help debtors get out of debt problems. Unfortunately, many have used it to increase their debt problems as mention above.
The only surefire way to get out of debts is really to adjust your spending habit and commit to a disciplined lifestyle. If you ask me, the get out of debt formula is really simple: It’s either to earn more money or spent less money.
There are several types of help available for unsecured debt consolidation. You can choose to take out a debt consolidation loan to lower your rates and payments. You may also choose to use a debt consolidation programs, letting a third-party deal with your creditors. And finally, you can turn to a credit counselor to help you find the best plan for your situation.
Debt Consolidation Loans
A debt consolidation loan is any type of loan you take out for the purpose of paying off other creditors. Ideally you want to find a loan with lower interest than what you are currently paying on your bills. However, even if you don’t lower your rates, you can lower your monthly payments by choosing a long-term loan. The drawback of course, is paying more in interest charges.
You can choose from a secured loan, usually backed by your home or unsecured loan. Secured loans, including a home equity loan, second mortgage, and line of credit, will have lower rates and the tax advantage of writing off your interest payments. However, if you don’t have a home, you can still find relatively low rates with a personal loan.
Debt Consolidation Programs
You can also work with a debt consolidation program to lower your rates and consolidate your bills. This third-party agency will negotiate lower rates with your creditors for a small fee. You also only make one monthly payment, letting the agency pay your bills from that sum. Some non-profit agencies also specialize in helping those with six or more months of late payments.
Before you sign up with these types of programs, be sure you have researched several agencies. Compare pay back dates, fees, and estimated monthly payments.
If you are confused about your options or just don’t have a plan for getting out of debt, consider visiting a credit counselor. As a non-biased person, they can explain your financial options. They can also discuss with you’re the pros and cons of each options, helping you find the best program for your unique situation.
Besides helping you to consolidate your bills, they can also help you develop a monthly budget and long-term financial goals.