Crippling amounts of debt have a powerful ability to undermine self confidence and sow the seeds of family strife. For that reason, it really does pay to take some time learning about possible solutions to debt problems, including debt consolidation. By reading as much as possible on the topic, it is possible for anyone to make a prudent choice that will lay the foundation for a firm financial future.
If you’re trying to pay down your debt, try borrowing a bit from your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement account. Be careful with this, though. While you’re able to borrow from your retirement plan for low interest, failing to pay it back as you agreed, losing your job, or being unable to pay it all back, the loan will be considered dismemberment. Your taxes and penalties will then be assessed as for why funds were withdrawn early.
Prior to searching for a debt consolidation company, make sure you look through the FTC regulations regarding this topic. Read about things like debt relief and negotiation companies. It will give you some of the background you need to go forward with the process, and it will make you feel more prepared in general.
Understand the difference between debt consolidation and a home equity loan. Many companies will guise a home equity loan (where you put your home on the line for the debt) as true debt consolidation. That’s not always the wisest move to make, especially if you have a family involved. Know the differences and the risks before making that decision.
Avoid debt elimination arbitrators. These companies love to claim that your debt can be eliminated, though in reality they know that only bankruptcy can result in total elimination. The best these companies can do is reduce the debt you owe. Surprisingly, this is no different than you could do by calling and negotiating with creditors yourself.
Focus on consolidation services that look at long term goals. Consolidators that offer a quick fix for your debt and credit woes may not get you the best results. Those that focus on creditors one at a time, improving your credit score with each successful negotiation, will wind up saving you money in the long run.
Find out which debts you have that will not be covered in debt consolidation. While most debts can be consolidated, there are a few that cannot, such as some student loans. You need to make sure that you know what will be covered and what will not, before you sign up.
Lots of people succeed at lowering payment obligations with a simple call to creditors. Many creditors are willing to help debtors conquer their debts. If your credit card payment is unaffordable, you may be surprised by a issuer’s willingness to reduce the payment or the interest rate.
Why do you want to consider debt consolidation to help you out? If it is only to reduce your payments so that you have more money to spend on discretionary things, such as entertainment or going out to eat, you are making a huge mistake. This method is only for those who are intent on paying down debt.
If you have a 401-K, you can use it to reduce your debts. In essence, you’re borrowing from yourself. Make sure that you have a plan so that you don’t end up losing your retirement funds.
Know that debt consolidation only works if you don’t accumulate more debt afterwards. If you go back to living off your credit cards, then all you’ve done is worsen your situation. Instead, map out a plan of action for how you’ll live after the debt consolidation. For many this means paying via debit cards or cash, so you always are living with what you have.
Before you make a payment offer, make sure that you can truly afford the payment. Although saving 30 percent off your minimum payment may sound good, it will not help you unless you can afford the decrease in payment. Once you have determined the amount you can afford, contact your creditor and try to come to a payment agreement.
Almost all debt consolidation is non-profit. The IRS gives tax breaks to companies who offer services to clients who are consolidating debt. Non-profit does not mean free. These companies do charge fees for their services. They have to pay their employees, file paperwork and have other costs associated with running their business.
If you are looking at debt consolidation as a way out, seek out a family member who might be of some financial assistance. This can make it easier to make a single payment every month. Also, the interest rate may be lower than if you were paying back multiple debtors.
Debt problems plague an astounding number of people, and many of them simply do not know where to turn. The purpose of this article was to discuss the good and bad aspects of debt consolidation to help readers determine their best course of action. Hopefully it has proven to be a useful resource that will be revisited often.