Should you respond to Cobalt Advisors or Credit 9 and trust them that this is the best way to consolidate debt? If you have been thinking about it and you just received a “too good to be true” loan offer in the mail from Saxton Associates, Hornet Partners, Polk Partners, Ladder Advisors, Apply Credit9, Cambridge National Lending, Greenlink Financial, Americor Funding, or Titan Consulting Group – listen to your gut instinct. Do you really think you qualify for a 3.99% interest rate? Do you really think that reservation code is especially for you? Check Best 2020 Debt Reviews and find out the truth.
There is no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to debt consolidation. The best way to consolidate debt depends on the individual and their very particular financial circumstances and preferences. For many people, it would be easier to clear off smaller balances first before proceeding to the larger bills until they are sorted out.
For many others, the best way to consolidate debt may well lie in transferring balances in a single lump-sum bill. However, it can be risky to consolidate debt, especially if you are forced to borrow additional money and you end up using one of the accounts with a zero balance. Then the debt just grows like a snowball and you end up in some deeper financial trouble.
It is easy to avoid falling into debt by following the best practices for credit card spending. Here are a few tips that you can follow to achieve a zero debt:
- Use your credit card responsibly. Don’t spend on items that you don’t need. If you have a balance on your credit card, learn how to pay off debt.
- Try keeping the balance to as low as you possibly can to minimize interest rate and just pay the bills on time. Don’t let the interest add to your balance because it only makes the journey towards being debt-free that much harder.
- Avoid opening more credit cards than you need just to increase your available credit. This only increases your risk of accumulating even more debt which you may not be able to manage.
That being said, it is possible for anyone to experience financial hardship because of major life events, such as a job loss, an unexpected medical condition, and even divorce. During these difficult times, it is better to consult with your creditors to seek the best way to consolidate your debt. You should also get in touch with a non-profit debt consolidation agency that deals with credit counseling to seek a possible resolution.
It is important to get help as soon as possible to relieve your financial burden. The more you wait, the more challenges you will end up encountering. In many ways, the debt consolidation process provides you with a way out of financial quicksand without declaring bankruptcy.
What is the Best Way to Consolidate Debt?
Some of the most obvious means of consolidating your debt include the following:
- Debt management program
- Debt settlement
- Debt consolidation loan
- Using home equity is an easy way to pay off debt
- Borrowing from a retirement savings plan like a Roth IRA or a 401(k)
- And if the situation calls for it, bankruptcy
If like many others, you feel that debt consolidation is the best way to go, then you’ll need a strategy. Never step into debt consolidation without one. Your first step is to figure out how much it is that you owe and the type of debt you’re dealing with.
Do you only owe credit card debt or do you also owe money on mortgage, a house, or even a personal loan?
In the majority of the cases, it would be a mixture of the above three. This means going back to the drawing board to break down your debt into two key areas: secured and unsecured debt.
This really is important because secured debt will be attached to a property that you own. If you fail to make payments on secured debt, your creditors can take the property away from you. In most cases, this property tends to be either the home or a car. For obvious reasons, failure to make do on even a single bill can result in foreclosure or repossession of the vehicle.
Unsecured debt is the money that most people owe on credit cards, student loans, and personal loans. They do not use collateral so there is nothing for the creditor to repossess or take back. The biggest disadvantage of using unsecured debt is the high-interest rate. Most creditors seek to minimize their risk when giving out loans. The lower their risk, the lower the interest rate. But in the case of unsecured debt, the risk is really high since they don’t have collateral, hence the relatively large increase in the interest rate.
Make Sure to Consult a Nonprofit Credit Counseling Agency
Getting in touch with a nonprofit credit counseling agency is usually the best way to consolidate debt. They will discuss your case with your creditors and seek to create a debt management plan that works best for all parties involved. Credit counselors can also negotiate lower interest rates and fees as long as you can provide a guaranteed monthly payment, making them one of the best ways to consolidate debt.
Credit counselors collect the monthly payment from you and then distribute it to the creditor at the agreed upon rate. In most cases, they do not charge for their services except for a small fee.
Advantages of Credit Counseling Agencies
- They can lower the interest rate and negotiate a lower monthly payment.
- Since this isn’t a new loan, you can easily pay it off without having to worry about a new bill to add to your monthly payments.
- The plans negotiated by credit counseling agencies will usually take 3 to 5 years to complete, after which the debt gets settled.
- You won’t receive calls from debt collection agencies since your credit counselor takes care of things from here.
- Your credit counselor gives helpful tips and suggestions on preventing debt in the future once you’re done with your debt management plan.
Disadvantages of Credit Counseling Agencies
- They charge a small monthly fee for the plan. This recurring fee is covered under the monthly payment.
- You may be required to close all your credit card accounts in the selected program. Some card companies let you keep one credit card open for unexpected emergencies.
- Missing a single payment can result in the cancellation of the entire program, including all the concessions on the interest fees.
- This will reduce the credit score by a few points in the first six months or so. But you will be able to improve your score over time provided you make timely payments.
In our opinion, the best way to consolidate debt is by lumping it together in a single monthly payment. You have fewer dates to remember, and provided you play your cards right, you may even secure a lower interest rate on the debt. Just make sure to commit to your plan otherwise you run the risk of going back to square one.