Debt Consolidation is a very popular and much touted term. Whether or not debt consolidation truly eases credit woes is a much debated topic. While debt consolidation is rigorously promoted as creation as a single loan that is easier to handle and works towards elimination of debt completely often the reverse happens and according to a senior official in a credit corporation, “Debt consolidation is often a symptomatic relief and not the cure.” One needs to ensure that what is being offered as debt consolidation by several financial firms is not a mirage but a reality.
Debt consolidation can take the form of a debt consolidation loan, a zero-percent credit card loan, or a home equity loan among other options.
Studies indicate that over 70% of debtors in the US who opt for debt consolidation land up in debt once again and that to within two years.
- When consolidating debt you need to ensure that the money freed each month is not used to fall into trouble once more. It is important to sat away from spending just because you feel there is money available.
- Ensure that the interest rate on your debt consolidation loan is really low. The debt consolidation companies offer attractive interest rates only to those with good credit ratings. Calculate your present outgoings and make sure the debt consolidation loan is lower than that. Never take the first offer in desperation. Make the effort of comparison shopping and check with local credit unions what they are offering.
- Never fall for the long-term loan trap. Ensure that the loan becomes payable within 2-5 years other wise you will pay back much more than you owed to begin with.
- Try and avoid a home equity loan. In case of any trouble and you are unable to pay the monthly payments you will loose the roof over your head. The very same individuals who promoted the loan as attractive will show no sympathy when you default on payments.
- If you are opting for a zero percent credit card loan ensure that the loan will be re-aid in full when the offer term ends. Otherwise the money still owed to the credit card will have to be repaid at a steep rate of interest. So take a deep breath and read the fine print before signing for a loan. Very often zero interest cards charge handling fess and so on, look for hidden charges that will escalate your costs.
Consider opting for credit counseling. Very often debt management is a more feasible option as in the long term you will pay less. For example if you have a debt of USD20000 you may pay USD 8000 as interest and be debt free in say 5 years. While if you take a 15 year home equity loan at 10% interest the interest on USD 20000 would amount to USD 19,000 approximately. So, getting professional help to manage your debt may save you considerable sums of money. A credit counselor will teach you essentials of money management and ensure that you don’t get into debt again.