One Solution to Multiple Bills: Debt Consolidation
When you are knee-deep in bills, debt consolidation might be the last thing on your mind.
However, it might be a great way to reduce your monthly bills to one single payment and lower your total monthly payment as well. Because debt consolidation is taking out another loan, sometimes using your home as collateral, you need to know as much as you can about debt consolidation before you approach a lender.
Reduce Your Bills: Debt Consolidation
Outside of your monthly expenses and necessity purchases, you probably have a slew of bills that come every month for credit cards, loans, and other debt. Your interest rates might be very high or your monthly payment might be beyond your means
Dealing with these bills each month can be frustrating and it's hard to keep track of each of them. When you consolidate your debt, you take out one big loan to cover your current debt and any fees associated with early repayment. Your monthly payment is reduced if you're able to get a lower overall interest rate or you agree to a longer term on your loan.
Pay Off Your Bills: Debt Consolidation No-No's
There are a couple of instances when it is not a good idea to consolidate. Do not consolidate your bills if:
- You are close to paying off your debt. Suffering through high interest rates will save you more money in the end if you're only a few years from paying off your debt than consolidating and paying more in interest over the years because your term is longer.
- You're unsure you can make the monthly payment. Don't take out a new loan unless you are confident you can make the payment each month. This is even more important if you use property to secure the loan, such as a home or car, as defaulting could lead to loss of the property.
- Your interest rates on your current loan are lower than on the new loan. That may seem like a no-brainer, but the lure of taking a high interest rate over a long term and reducing your monthly payments can seem tempting. Your temporary relief from your bills will cost you a lot of money over the long run. Do the math and figure out how much it will cost you in interest to pay-off your loan before you sign on the dotted line. If a higher rate loan for a longer term is the only way to avoid defaulting on your debt, it may make sense, even though it is not ideal.
Talk to a few lenders about your bills, debt consolidation, and other options before you decide whether to consolidate. Consolidating might be a great choice if you can find a trustworthy lender who can offer you a good loan package.
Remember, you can always take your paperwork home and read it more carefully or have your lawyer read it before you sign. A good lender will not object if you ask to do so.
In some cases, credit counseling or learning how to budget on your own might be a better option, but you won't know until you take a look at the interest rates and terms available to you.
A final thought: Do not lock yourself into one tactic or strategy before choosing a course of action. Sometimes your first thought or the easiest tactic may not be the best long-term solution.