Debt consolidation is a concept that most people are aware of and often is a good idea. Basically when consolidating your bills or loans, you combine the total amount owed and make a single monthly payment instead of many smaller payments through out the month. While this is often a good solution to debt problems, there are a few things that need to be considered first.
The first thing to consider is if a consolidation loan is in your best interest. Regardless of how you end up procuring a consolidation loan the basic facts are the same, you are borrowing more than you currently owe to get one monthly payment. Is this convenience worth the extra cost of the fees and interest on a loan for money than you currently owe?
Depending upon your situation there may be several courses of action to consider first. Step one is to take a serious look at you personal budgeting. Do you need to make changes to how you are currently spending your income? If there is too much debt to be repaid at once can you enter into a payment arrangement with your creditors to allow you the time that you need to get ahead?
If you are not able to work your way out of your current situation then you need to look at other borrowing solutions. The first option should be to examine what possibilities you already have. Do you have a mortgage?
If you have a mortgage there may be a few options available to you. First you may be able to increase the amount of your current mortgage. In order to increase the amount of your current mortgage you may have to switch lending institutions and basically re-mortgage your home while other places will simply add the extra amount to your current mortgage. The other similar option you have is to take out a second mortgage on your home. In this case you are borrowing against the equity in your home that you have already built up.
If you do not have a home but do have good credit then you may have other options available to you such as an unsecured loan. An unsecured loan is a good faith loan meaning that the business that lent to you trusts you enough to repay the loan. This type of loan will not impede your ability to buy and sell property since they will not but a lien on your assets. This may be important to you if you are planning on selling your vehicle or other assets in the near future.
Debt consolidation can be a valuable tool if you know what you are doing and how you got to this point. Debt consolidation may offer lower interest rates, lower monthly payments and only a single bill to pay once a month thus making your budgeting easier.
However, the cost of this convenience can be fairly high. Often companies will charge you for settling a loan earlier than arranged thus adding to the total amount owed. Generally consolidated loans payments are less than what you are currently paying. This is because the term is longer than before. Another way lenders make money is by offering loan insurance that you may already have. It always pays to shop around for any product since the company offering it at the time is usually charging more for the convenience of bundling it.
As you can see a consolidated loan can save you money but may not be the best option available to you. The key is to shop around and do your homework. Find out what various companies offer, what kind of interest rate you should expect to pay based upon your credit rating and what alternative options you have available to you. For example you may be able to borrow from your 401K plan and you will not be charged interest on the loan if you make an arrangement to repay the loan with your employer. A 0% interest loan is a much better option than a consolidated loan.