What You Need to Know About Debt Consolidation: 3 Facts
Those debt consolidation offers can seem so tempting, with claims of low monthly payments, no more hassles from creditors and merging all your bills in into one simple payment. Debt consolidation seems like such an easy way to get out of debt, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, the truth is far different than the commercials and advertisements would have you believe. Debt consolidation loans can be helpful, but you must be careful. These loans are not a panacea, and can prove to be more trouble than you might think. Debt consolidation loans are viable choices in some situations, but you need to know what you are getting yourself into. If you’re considering a debt consolidation loan, you need to understand the basic facts.
Fact 1: Debt consolidation is a loan to pay back other loans.
There are no free lunches out there. Debt consolidation is not a simple fix. Yes, you can eliminate a couple of bills and lower your monthly payments, but you can’t change the fact that you still owe money. A debt consolidation loan is simply a new loan you use to pay off the other ones. You’ll still have to pay back this new loan, even if it seems like a better deal.
Let’s look at it from the debt consolidation company’s point of view. They lend you money to pay back loans. You agree to pay back the money they lend you. At first, you pay them less than you would have paid if you’d kept the other loans. That means the debt consolidation company makes lees money, right? Wrong. While the monthly payments are less, there are more of them. Maybe a lot more. Over time, those smaller payments add up. You pay the debt consolidation company more money than you would have paid the other lenders. That’s how they make money.
Fact 2: Debt consolidation loans can be hard to get.
You know that debt consolidation offers are loans like any other kind of consumer credit. Like credit cards, mortgages or car loans, you have to be approved for these programs. Unfortunately, people who struggle to pay back their loans are usually the ones who look to debt consolidation as the answer. Because they’re having trouble making payments, their credit scores might not be very good. If you’re in a position where you think consolidating debts, think twice if you have a low credit score.
Even if you are able to get a consolidation loan, you’re not going to get very good terms. Having bad credit means you won’t be able to get anything other than the highest interest rates and terms. Your new debt consolidation loan can end up being a worse deal than what you had before.
Fact 3: Debt consolidation won’t get rid of debt.
Taking out a loan to pay back other loans can be beneficial in some situations. Unfortunately, it doesn’t address the main problem: paying your debt. Loan consolidation offers can give you some time to get your finances together or make it easier to keep track of your loans, but it can’t teach you how to become a better debtor.
To truly get control of your debt, you have to pay it back, and not just by making the minimum payments each month. Debt consolidation companies are counting on your inability to do this. That’s why they extend the loans for a longer time period. The longer the loan, the more interest gets charged and the more money you have to pay back.
Getting out of debt means paying your debts. Paying on time, paying more than the monthly minimum, and focusing on the high interest rate loans are all effective strategies. Incurring more debt can result in the exact opposite of your desires.
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