Overview of Your Debt Help Options
Debt relief for over-leveraged consumers is bigger than ever. There is more than $13 trillion in consumer debt, with almost $2 trillion of that amount in revolving debt. With rising interest rates and exploding debt levels, what does this mean for the American family? It means you better either be debt free, have rising income levels, have equity in your home, or start looking around for debt relief.
There are as many forms of debt relief out there as there are ways to get into debt. You have probably heard terms like debt consolidation and credit counseling, but have you heard of debt resolution, debt settlement and debt roll-up? Since there are so many debt relief alternatives, it is important to learn about all of the options and then assess what your primary needs are — so that you can pick the debt relief option that best fits your needs.
When evaluating debt relief, the four primary concerns for most consumers are:
- Monthly payment
- Time to debt freedom
- Total cost
- The credit rating impact of the consolidation program.
Be sure to evaluate each program, relative to your prioritization of these factors.
Credit counseling, or signing up for a debt management plan, is a very common form of debt relief. There are many companies offering online credit counseling, which is essentially a way to make one payment directly to the credit counseling agency, which then distributes that payment to your creditors. Most times, a credit counseling agency will be able to lower your monthly payments by getting interest rate concessions from your lenders or creditors. So if your primary concern is to lower your monthly payment a little bit, then evaluate if credit counseling is your best form of debt relief. It is important to understand that in a credit counseling program, you are still repaying 100% of your debts - but with lower monthly payments. On average, most online credit counseling programs take around five years. While most credit counseling programs do not impact your FICO score, being enrolled in a credit counseling debt management plan DOES show up on your credit report. and, unfortunately, many lenders look at enrollment in credit counseling akin to filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy — or using a third party to re-organize your debts. So if your credit profile is a concern for what debt relief program you select, be aware of how your future lenders will perceive credit counseling.
Debt settlement, also called debt negotiation, is a form of debt relief that cuts your total debt, sometimes over 50%, with lower monthly payments. Sound good? For most people, saving money with a low payment meets their debt relief needs. Debt settlement programs typically run around three years. It is not a perfect debt relief solution, however, and it is important to keep in mind that during the life of your debt settlement program, you are NOT paying your creditors. This means that a debt settlement solution will negatively impact your credit rating. Your credit rating will not be good, at a minimum, for the term of your debt settlement program. However, debt settlement is usually the fastest and cheapest way to debt freedom, with a low monthly payment, while avoiding Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The debt relief trade-off here is a negative credit rating versus saving money.
Debt Consolidation Loan
Many people think first of a debt consolidation loan when seeking debt relief. This option typically means a second home loan (or home equity line of credit) or refinancing your primary mortgage. In a debt consolidation loan, you exchange one loan for another. The most frequent form is taking out a mortgage loan, which carries a lower interest rate and is tax deductible, to pay off high interest rate credit card debt. It is important to be aware that shifting unsecured debt to secured debt can create a volatile situation, if there is ever a chance that you cannot afford the new mortgage payment you are now putting yourself at risk of foreclosure! This means that debt consolidation, as a form of debt relief, can actually cause a bigger problem than what you originally had. In the case of a debt consolidation loan, most mortgages are 30-year loan, which means that the total cost and the time to debt freedom could be very high. but the monthly payment will be lower than other options and there is no credit rating impact. So if you are a homeowner and your credit rating is your primary concern, then debt consolidation may be the best form of debt relief.
Although there are many forms of debt relief, many people with good to perfect credit who own homes should look into debt consolidation loans, while consumers with high credit card debt and poor credit may want to explore debt settlement or debt negotiation. However, each consumer is different, so find the online debt consolidation option that fits for you.
Regardless of the form of debt relief that you select, it is equally important to find a reputable provider. Make sure the company you select is a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or evaluate their history and legitimacy by doing reference checks and make sure that your program will be as successful as the sales story you will hear on your consultation. Also, make sure that education information and advice is free of charge. they should be getting you debt free, not charging you for what should be part of the program. If you need help evaluating alternative providers, Bills.com makes it easy for you to find a provider, by following this link: Debt Relief Quote.
Look around, evaluate your own concerns, and then pick a debt relief provider that meets your needs.