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Debt Consolidation Options

The multiple options available to consolidate ones debts can be quite confusing, credit counseling programs, debt settlement, debt consolidation loans, bankruptcy are just a few options available today. Trying to find the best option to suit your current financial situation can be a difficult task.

Typically, debt consolidation programs are debt repayment programs. They can consolidate most types of unsecured debts from major credit cards to personal and student loans. You choose the accounts you want to enter into the program when joining. Once enrolled, the company will contact your creditors to negotiate more favorable repayment terms on your accounts and possibly reducing your interest rates and it may even eliminate late fees. You will then send that company one lump sum payment monthly which they will disperse to the creditors you enrolled on your account when joining.

Most so called debt consolidation loans are just home equity loans in disguise. They use the equity built up in your current home loan and use it to repay all of your unsecured debts. These types of loan options usually come with heavy application fees and can greatly extend the amount of time it will take you to pay off those debts. These loans also convert all of your current unsecured debts into a secured debt which is now backed by your home. If you fall behind on your payments you could risk losing your property.

Debt Consolidation Loans

Debt consolidation entails taking out one loan to pay off many others. This is done to secure a lower interest rate, secure a fixed interest rate or for the convenience of servicing only one loan.

Debt consolidation can simply be from a number of unsecured loans into another unsecured loan, but more often it involves a secured loan against an asset that serves as collateral, most commonly a house. In this case, a mortgage is secured against the house. The collateralization of the loan allows a lower interest rate than without it, because by collateralizing, the asset owner agrees to allow the forced sale (foreclosure) of the asset to pay back the loan. The risk to the lender is reduced so the interest rate offered is lower.

Sometimes, debt consolidation companies can discount the amount of the loan. When the debtor is in danger of bankruptcy, the debt consolidator will buy the loan at a discount. A prudent debtor can shop around for consolidators who will pass along some of the savings. Consolidation can affect the ability of the debtor to discharge debts in bankruptcy, so the decision to consolidate must be weighed carefully.

Concerns

In recent years, reports in the media have raised concerns about the use of consolidation loans. The worry is that many people are tempted to consolidate unsecured debt into secured debt, usually secured against their home. Although the monthly payments can often be lower, the total amount repaid is often significantly higher due to the long period of the loan. Debt consolidation sometimes only treats the symptoms of debt and does not address the root problem. In some circumstances, snowballing debt may be a better solution.

There are other alternatives to a debt consolidation loan, where unsecured debt is not "shifted" to secured debt, but is eliminated through a settlement or payment plan. Debt consolidation can be confusing for many people, so it is helpful to learn about all of your options, and sometimes with the help of an advisor.


 
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