4 SIGNS IT IS TIME TO CONSOLIDATE YOUR DEBT

Multiple debts lead to multiple accounts, interest rates, and payment due dates. Managing multiple debts can be difficult enough without the added stress of late or missed payments. If you feel like you’re drowning in debt, it may be time to consider debt consolidation.

With debt consolidation, you may be able to reduce or completely eliminate multiple debts. Check out these four signs that it is time to consolidate your debt and start taking control of your finances.

HOW DOES DEBT CONSOLIDATION WORK?

Debt consolidation helps you consolidate multiple payments into one single payment. This can be achieved in a couple of different ways. The two most common ways are by opening a new credit card account or working with a professional debt relief company to consolidate debt.

There are many credit card options that have an introductory 0% interest rate for a balance transfer on new accounts. That means you transfer the debt from your existing credit cards onto the new card and pay nothing in interest for a short period of time. A debt consolidation loan is a personal loan that uses loan funds to pay off your existing debts so you can focus only on paying off the new loan.

It’s important that your new card or loan offers a lower interest rate, reduced payment amount, or some other benefit that makes managing and paying your debt easier. If it doesn’t offer any incentives, you may end up paying more than before you consolidated.

Opening a new credit account like a credit card or debt consolidation loan, however, requires you to open and manage your accounts on your own. If you’re already struggling with making payments on time or managing your debt, a new account may also be difficult to manage. On the other hand, you can work with a debt relief company to negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to lower your payments. You may even be able to settle your debts for less than you originally owed.

1. YOU’RE READY TO MAKE A FINANCIAL COMMITMENT

Debt consolidation is an excellent debt relief option if you’re in a position to make a financial commitment to paying down your debt. You’ll need to have a steady income that’s high enough to cover your monthly payment in order to make a debt consolidation plan successful. It may also be wise to commit to not taking on new debts during the period you’re paying off your consolidated debts.

Debt consolidation usually lasts about 1-5 years, depending on your consolidation plan. If you use a balance transfer on credit card debt, you will usually only have 12 to 18 months of 0% interest on the new card. Once the introductory offer expires, you’ll be back to paying the large interest rates charged by credit card companies.

If you choose a debt consolidation loan, your total debt may be stretched out over a longer period of time. However, depending on your new loan terms, you may have a higher monthly payment in order to reduce interest.

The best option is usually to enter a debt settlement program with a debt relief company. A debt relief company can negotiate with your creditors for you. The Certified Debt Specialists are available to help you stay on track and build a debt relief plan for you to resolve your debts.

Being mentally able to commit a part of your paycheck to pay off your debts and resisting the urge to take out new debts are signs it is time to consolidate your debt. Perhaps the most difficult part of debt consolidation is having the discipline to create and follow a budget that focuses on paying off your debt. The reward for this determination is usually reduced or eliminated debt, so it’s definitely worth making sacrifices for a few months or years.

2. YOU WANT TO MAKE MANAGING DEBT PAYMENTS EASIER

Managing several different debt accounts, such as credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans, can be overwhelming. Between having to remember different usernames and passwords for each debt as well as different due dates, it can be easy to miss a payment. Late or missed payments on debt can quickly send your credit score tumbling, further upsetting your financial situation.

With debt consolidation, your multiple accounts, cards, and loans are brought together under one new account. You’ll only have to remember one login, one due date, and one payment amount. Simplifying your debt makes it much easier to manage. You’ll be less likely to miss a payment and more likely to continuously make your payments on time.

3. YOU MIGHT BE QUALIFIED FOR BETTER TERMS

Having multiple debts doesn’t always mean you have a poor credit score. If you make your minimum monthly payments, you may have retained a fairly good credit score even as your debt has risen. This good credit can help you consolidate your debt.

Some debt consolidation programs work by opening a new account or taking out a new loan. You’ll likely need to have good credit to be able to qualify for credit cards with 0% introductory offers or good terms on a new loan.

However, you may not have the best credit, and that’s okay. Working with a debt relief company gives you a better chance of finding the right debt consolidation solution. Even if you have good credit, you may want to work with a debt relief company to settle your debts for less than you owe.

4. YOU’RE FEELING OVERWHELMED BY DEBT

When you’re facing multiple debts, and possibly collection calls or other notices to remind you of your debt, it’s easy to feel like you’re under a mountain of debt. By combining all of your debt into one place, you make it easier to start tackling it.

Additionally, debt consolidation has the benefit of a definite end date. If you’re willing to make the financial push to reach that end date, you may be able to eliminate the debts you consolidated. Having an end date to your introductory period, the final payment to your debt consolidation loan, or making a lump sum payment or final payment on your settled debt amount is like having a light at the end of a tunnel.

FINDING A DEBT CONSOLIDATION PROGRAM THAT WORKS FOR YOU

If you related to any or all of these signs it is time to consolidate your debt, you can get started today. Working with a trustworthy debt relief company like Accredited Debt Relief gives you access to Certified Debt Specialists who can help you create a debt consolidation plan. Find out more about debt consolidation today to see if it’s the right choice for you.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR DEBT RELIEF?

Dealing with even a small amount of debt may feel stressful and overwhelming. A debt-increasing interest charges and late fees to the mix, and it can get even more difficult to manage. 

When you decide to tackle your debt, you might want to look into a debt relief program such as debt resolution.

WHAT DO I NEED TO QUALIFY?

Keep in mind: getting out of debt isn’t easy, and a debt relief program isn’t a quick fix. In order to start a program –such as a debt resolution program– you’ll need to meet certain criteria, including:

1. LEGITIMATE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP

A debt resolution program works by negotiating with your creditors on your behalf to try and lower the total amount of money you owe. Debt negotiation can be an effective method for reducing and eventually paying off debt. However, most creditors won’t negotiate with a borrower unless they can show they have legitimate financial need to lower their debts.

Events like divorce, loss of employment, or unexpected medical bills can all lead to serious loss of income and qualify as legitimate financial hardships. Some creditors may agree to negotiate debts when events like this happen, but you’ll need to show that you cannot realistically pay your debts. Many people who choose a debt resolution program had also considered bankruptcy.

If you can easily make your payments and pay off the debt you owe, a debt relief program may not be right for you.

2. OVERDUE UNSECURED DEBT

Debt resolution can’t help you pay off debts with collateral involved (known as secured debt) like mortgages or auto loans. It can, however, potentially help you pay off unsecured debt like credit cards, medical bills, and unsecured personal loans. Because unsecured debt doesn’t have collateral attached to it, creditors can’t seize your property if you miss payments. They can, however, add late fees, increase interest, or send your account to collections.

In addition to unsecured debt, you’ll need to be at least a few months behind on your payments. If you’ve defaulted on a loan or have an account that’s gone to collections, debt resolution may be able to help. Being slightly behind on payments usually isn’t enough for creditors to negotiate a lower amount. Instead, they’ll try to get you to make up your missed payments and continue paying toward the full amount.

3. A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF DEBT

Even a small amount of debt can make you feel like you’re drowning in it. However, to start a debt resolution program, you’ll need to hold a certain amount of unsecured debt large enough that you cannot realistically pay it back without reducing it.

A higher amount of debt doesn’t guarantee that a creditor will negotiate, but it can be used as leverage for your case.

4. REGULAR INCOME

Once you enroll in a program, a bank account is opened in your name so you can deposit your monthly payments into it. . While you make those monthly deposits, negotiations with your creditor (for a lower total debt amount) kick-off. Once a settlement is reached and you’ve saved up enough money to meet the settlement agreement, your debts will be paid in a lump sum using the funds in the account.

That monthly payment is why it’s important that you have a steady enough income. Not having the income you need in order to make your payments could greatly delay your debt resolution program. Since your payments are going into an account to build up the funds to make one large payment. 

Missing your payment consistently can throw your debt relief off track and cause you to potentially miss an agreed payment date. Of course, life is unpredictable, and unforeseen things happen, so as soon as you know you won’t be able to make a payment, you should let your debt resolution company know. They can help you figure out how to get your payments back on schedule.

PATIENCE

On average, a debt resolution program can take two to four years to complete, so you’ll need to understand that your debts won’t go away overnight. The length of your individual program will depend on factors including how much you owe and how much you can afford to contribute towards your monthly payment. The sooner you can save enough funds in your account to pay your negotiated settlement amount, the sooner you’ll be out of debt.

You’ll need patience and discipline to successfully complete a debt resolution program. Some people get frustrated by a lack of change in their debt and want to leave the program after a few months. One of the most important things to accept before you start a program like this is that debt resolution isn’t going to solve your debt problems quickly.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR DEBT RELIEF AND IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

Debt relief –such as a debt resolution program– could help you get out of debt, but it’s not for everyone. Talk with a professional debt resolution company, like Accredited Debt Relief, to see if you’re a good candidate for the program.Get a free consultation to see if you can use debt resolution to get out of debt without facing bankruptcy.

TYPES OF DEBT CONSOLIDATION: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ONE

When you’re struggling to manage multiple debts, you might wonder if debt consolidation is a good fit for you. It works by combining your multiple payments, and due dates (not to mention the multiple logins you have for each payment) into one convenient monthly payment.

It’s easy to see the potential benefits of consolidating debt, but did you know there are several different ways to consolidate? Find out more on the different methods for consolidating debt and the pros and cons of each. This information can make it easier to choose the right type of debt consolidation.

PERSONAL LOAN

A personal loan seems like the most straightforward option for consolidating debt to many people. To consolidate with a personal loan, you usually apply for a new personal loan in the amount of all of your debts combined. If approved, you use the loan funds to pay off your existing debts. Once your other debts are paid off, you can focus your efforts solely on making the payment for your new loan.

Personal loans as a consolidation tool rely heavily on getting better terms for your new loan to be successful. If you get a new loan but the interest rate is higher than your other loans or credit cards, you may not actually save any money. You could potentially even wind up with more debt than before.

Generally, a personal loan is offered by online lenders or traditional lenders like banks and credit unions. They may require you to have good credit in order to qualify for the best terms, including a lower interest rate. People with poor credit may have trouble getting approved for a new loan. Usually, a personal loan is a better option if you have excellent credit and history with your bank to increase the chances of approval.

PROS:

  • A straightforward way to consolidate debt.
  • Can work well for people with good credit.
  • Lenders like banks provide structure in repayment.

CONS:

  • Not ideal for people with poor credit.
  • Usually need better terms on the new loan to make it worthwhile.

HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT

If you own a home, you could potentially consolidate using your home equity. Home equity lines of credit, also known as HELOCs, are a type of loan that allow you to borrow money against the equity you’ve built in your home.

A HELOC is a revolving credit line, similar to a credit card, that gives you access to credit up to a certain limit. You can usually borrow as much or as little as you need, up to the limit. Interest rates for HELOCs are almost always variable, meaning you may change during the term of the HELOC and you could pay more or less in interest depending on the current rates.

HELOCs could be a good consolidation option for homeowners if they have a decent amount of equity in their home. Additionally, interest rates for home equity lines tend to be less than other types of loans or credit cards.

The biggest drawback to using the equity in your home to consolidate debt is that the credit is secured by your home. If you default on your HELOC loan, you could possibly lose your home. A better choice is usually one that doesn’t require collateral, like a debt consolidation program from a debt relief company.

PROS:

  • Low interest rates.
  • Usually have a high approval rate.
  • Stability from a bank or other established lender.

CONS:

  • Your home is used as collateral.
  • Upfront costs and fees to establish the loan or HELOC.

CREDIT CARD BALANCE TRANSFER

Credit card balance transfers are a way to move an outstanding balance on one credit card to a new card with a low or 0% introductory interest rate. Introductory rates usually expire after 12-21 months, so you’ll have a limited time to pay off your consolidated debt before a higher interest rate kicks in.

You’ll likely need a good credit score in order to qualify for credit cards with a low interest rate. If you have less than perfect credit, you may not be approved for a new card. Additionally, you’ll probably be working directly with a credit card company who may not have your best interests in mind. People with lower credit scores or limited credit history should consider other options, like speaking with a debt relief company to consolidate credit card debt.

You should consider your ability to avoid overspending while trying to choose the right type of debt consolidation. Consolidating with a new credit card may encourage overspending. When you transfer your balances, your existing credit cards will be clear and you may be tempted to max out those cards again.

PROS:

  • Potentially save on interest costs during the introductory rate period.
  • A good option for those with a relatively low amount of debt and good credit.

CONS:

  • Not much time to pay off the balance before the regular interest rate takes effect.
  • Need good credit to qualify for the low interest rate offer.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS LOAN

Some people choose to borrow money from family and friends in order to consolidate debt. Taking out a loan from a friend or family member may seem like the easiest option. You may not have to deal with fees like you might encounter when obtaining a loan from a bank and you’ll probably get a great interest rate.

However, borrowing money from family and friends can be risky. There are usually no terms to the loan, leaving both you and your lender at risk. In addition, if you don’t pay back the loan, your relationship will likely take a significant hit. You may end up losing friends or the support of your family members.

If you’re worried you won’t qualify for a consolidation program, borrowing from trusted friends or family members could be an option. Because this is a more personal lender, getting a written contract that specifies the loan details is an important step so you can be held accountable—just like you would be with a financial institution.

PROS:

  • Little or no fees to set up the loan.
  • Low interest rates.
  • The ability to potentially customize your loan to your financial needs.

CONS:

  • No stability from an established lender or debt relief company.
  • The possibility of ruining a close relationship with friends and family.

DEBT RELIEF PROGRAM

Many people find that having the support of a debt relief company aids in the success of their debt consolidation. Unlike other types of consolidation, a debt relief program doesn’t involve taking on new debt to pay existing debt. Instead, debt relief programs work by negotiating with creditors on your behalf. It’s not uncommon to have your total amount of enrolled debt reduced to a more realistic amount, thanks to the skills of a professional negotiator.

Most programs request you to set up an account before they negotiate with your creditors, and you are requested to make one convenient payment each month into this account. When the account has sufficient funds, the debt relief company will reach out to your creditors to negotiate a settlement on your behalf.

This type of debt consolidation should give you the benefits of one simplified monthly payment while also helping you avoid taking on new debt. You’ll also have a high chance of lowering the total amount you owe, significantly saving you money. If you’re looking to choose the right type of debt consolidation option, working with an experienced debt relief company is generally a good choice for almost anyone.

PROS:

  • Potentially resolve debt for less than you originally owed.
  • Don’t have to take on new debt.
  • Easier to qualify than taking on new debt obligations.
  • Professional debt negotiators work with creditors on your behalf.

CONS:

  • Some creditors may not be willing to negotiate.
  • You may have tax consequences for successfully lowering your debt.
  • There may be a significant effect on your credit score. However, as you pay down your debt or get out of debt completely, it’s likely that your credit score may increase.

HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT TYPE OF DEBT CONSOLIDATION?

Finding the right debt consolidation method for your financial situation is important to the debt relief program’s success. If you choose the wrong program, you may end up in even more debt.

Remember that many of the types of debt consolidation revolve around taking on new debt. With a debt relief program from Accredited Debt Relief, you can avoid taking on new debt and still get the benefits of consolidating your existing debts. Our Certified Debt Specialist work for you to find the best option for you.Find out more on how using a debt relief program to consolidate your debt can potentially save money by getting a free consultation today.