Every Necessary Things to Know About Debt Consolidation

Every Necessary Things to Know About Debt Consolidation

Every Necessary Things to Know About Debt Consolidation

Now just incase one way or the other you have ever felt overburdened or unable to make all of your monthly debt payments. Or perhaps you’re paying a lot in interest since your rates are higher than usual. Are you considering debt consolidation? Is it a wise move?

Debt consolidation may appear appealing if you indicated yes to these questions. In fact, 38% of people with credit card debt have applied for a loan to consolidate their debt, according to a CNBC story.

Yet it’s crucial to comprehend how debt consolidation functions. If you decide to use it, make sure it will be to your advantage!

It’s also critical to remember that debt consolidation is not a way to fix bad financial practices. You’ll still need to work on issues like your financial discipline, budgeting, overspending, and debt payback plan.

All of these apply to your financial wellness whether or not you choose to consolidate your debt.

Debt consolidation meaning

Most definitely any debt consolidation is the process of simplifying your debt payments into a single debt payment (or as few payments as possible).

People use it to consolidate credit card debt, student loan debt, and other types of unsecured debt like medical debt or payday loans.

Now is debt consolidation bad and how does it work?

The idea behind it is that you take your different debt obligations and lump them into one large package.

To do this, you’d leverage a debt consolidation option with more favorable terms to pay this consolidated debt off.

So instead of having multiple monthly payments to different creditors after you consolidate your debt, you’d only make one monthly payment. And hopefully, this payment is at a lower interest rate.

Is debt consolidation bad—not always. However, it becomes an issue when people can not pay off the loan before the high-cost sets in.

That being said while consolidating your debt could be beneficial, proceed with caution as it could also end up costing you more in the long run.

It’s important that you fully understand the repayment terms when consolidating your debt. You also want to make sure that you understand the long-term impact on your finances.

Let’s get into this topic in more detail, starting out with some commonly asked questions.

Can debt consolidation hurt your credit score?

In the short term, your credit score could go down if you chose to consolidate your debt. This is because you’d be opening up a new line of credit and transferring a large balance onto it.

Depending on how long it takes for your creditors to update the credit bureaus, your credit report could temporarily show both your multiple debt accounts and your new consolidated debt account.

These balances may show until they report that your consolidation account has paid off your multiple debt account balances.

Also, the inquiry to open the new line of credit where you consolidate your debt could cause your credit to decline temporarily.

Is Debt consolidation the same as debt settlement?

Debt consolidation is not the same as debt settlement. With debt settlement, you enter into a negotiation agreement with your creditors to pay less than what you owe. This payment would occur in the form of a single lump-sum payment.

Legally, lenders are not mandated to enter into debt settlement negotiations but they may be open to it if they can recoup a certain amount of their money.

Debt settlement can also have implications on your credit score. The lender may choose to close your account, leaving you to contend with the impact on your score. They will also report your account as “settled for less than agreed,” which stays on your credit report for seven years.

When should you consider debt consolidation?

Still asking yourself, “is debt consolidation a good idea?” Debt consolidation might work for you if you:

  • Are you ready to become debt-free
  • Are committed to no longer spending on credit
  • Owe more than $10,000
  • Want to reduce your monthly payments and/or interest rates
  • Want to simply multiple debt payments into one lump sum
  • Have potential actions by collection agencies that you need to resolve
  • Have run your calculations and know that consolidating your debt will save you money even with any associated fees

Top common ways to consolidate debt

Some different ways in which debt can be consolidated include:

1. Zero to low-interest credit cards

Specifically, a credit card with an initial zero-interest window can help you save money on interest. This, however, only works if you can pay off your debt before the window or time expired.

This can be done through a balance transfer which allows you to move a balance you owe on one credit card onto another.

2. Debt consolidation loans

Consolidation loans generally take on two forms – secured and unsecured loans.

A secured loan

This is a loan in which the borrower puts up collateral for taking out the loan. The collateral could be a house or a car which the lender can repossess should the borrower fail to make payments.

An unsecured loan

On the other hand, an unsecured loan does not need any assets to be put forward by the borrower as collateral. This makes unsecured loans harder to get approval for (especially with poor credit).

They also tend to be more expensive by way of interest payments and other more challenging qualifying criteria.

A benefit of both secured and unsecured loans is that the interest rates are lower than those charged on a credit card.

Also, the interest rates are typically fixed throughout the life of the loan. This makes the loan repayment process easier and more predictable. The life of the loan is typically 3 to 5 years.

3. Using a home equity line of credit

If you are a homeowner, a big benefit of owning a home is the ability to build equity gradually as you pay off your mortgage. That being said, having a home as a source of equity opens up the option of getting a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

A HELOC essentially serves as a revolving line of credit based on your home’s equity and, similar to credit cards, lets you draw on the funds you need. However, a HELOC is a form of secured debt secured by your home.

Care must be taken when applying for a HELOC, and we are not fans of using a HELOC to pay off debt. This type of credit is given based on the equity in your home.

That means, if you tap into this equity and your house does not appreciate or drops in value, or your home selling costs far outweigh the equity in your home, you could be in deep water.

It’s also not advisable to consolidate unsecured debt like credit card debt into a HELOC that is secured by your home.

Disadvantages of debt consolidation

Every Necessary Things to Know About Debt Consolidation

Aside from the potential impact on your credit score, consolidating your debt may come with some other disadvantages:

1. The life of your debt may be extended with debt consolidation

Often, despite the lower interest rates and lower monthly payments, the lenders often stretch out the life of the loan, sometimes beyond that of the original debt. Thus resulting in a borrower paying significantly more than originally bargained for due to compounded interest.

As a result, it’s super important to ensure that you understand the underlying costs, fees, and interest rates associated with debt consolidation.

2. The associated fees

Fees paid to consolidate debt onto a new credit card or into a personal loan can be high. If you are exploring a debt consolidation company, this can also cost you a lot of money.

It’s also important to do your research to avoid scams. Keep in mind that it is by no means necessary to work with a debt consolidation company to consolidate your debt.

3. Best consolidation loans on secured debt require collateral

Secured loan consolidations are much easier to access. However, they require putting up collateral like your home or car for potential repossession should you fail to pay. This puts you at risk in the case of a default on the loan. Not a good idea.

4. When your debt isn’t paid off, you just move it around with consolidation

When you consolidate debt into a loan or a new credit card, your debt hasn’t changed. It’s now just more convenient to pay because it is consolidated.

If your previous line of credit on your credit cards is now freed up because you consolidated your debt, be mindful of using those credit cards and taking on more debt.

Just consolidate your debt if it benefits you financially

The question is that is consolidating debt a wise decision, then? Only if you stand to gain financially and long-term savings. The most crucial point to remember about debt consolidation is that it does not result in a reduction in the amount of debt you owe. Simply said, it transfers your debt to a new location, presumably with better terms.

Then incase you decide to use debt consolidation, you should make a strategy to pay off your debt as soon as you can. Also, it’s important to keep in mind that debt elimination is attainable without debt consolidation if you make use of debt repayment plans.

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