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Should You Consolidate Your Debt

Many Americans are in debt and more are going into debt every day due to high cost of gas, food, clothing, utilities and housing. Many Americans don’t have enough money to pay even basic necessities and have to resort to using a credit card to buy food and gas. This has caused many Americans to owe thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Luckily there are many options available to eliminate or reduce debt. One option that can be used to eliminate or reduce debt is debt consolidation. Debt consolidation can be done on your own or by using a debt consolidation, debt management company or bank.

Consolidating debt works by making one monthly payment to a debt consolidation company which is disbursed or divided among your creditors. This monthly payment is usually lower than the total of your individual creditor accounts.

Debt consolidation reduces the monthly bill, lowers your monthly interest rate and halts charging late fees. This can be done by: taking out a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit or a debt consolidation loan from your bank. There are other options for consolidating debt such as: refinance with cash out or refinancing your home for an amount greater than the amount you owe and using the extra cash to pay off debt.

Consolidating debt through a credit counseling agency or debt relief company usually requires payment of a setup fee and/or monthly fee. Using your home’s equity will also require payment of fees for the home equity loan or home equity line of credit.

The benefits of using debt consolidation are: reduced monthly payments, reduced finance charges, elimination of harassing calls from creditors, convenience of sending in one monthly payment, pay debt down faster, and freedom from stress, worry, and anxiety causes by being in debt. Home equity loans can also provide tax benefits. However, use caution when consolidating debt.

The disadvantages of using debt consolidation are: the costs of the loan may not be less than what you are currently paying, you could get a higher interest rate if you have bad credit or no collateral to secure the loan, the debt consolidation will be listed on your credit report and may lower your credit score, your credit may become worse if you do business with a non-reputable company, you risk losing your home if you get a home equity loan and miss a payment or make late payments and you may have to pay points for taking out the home equity loan.

It is best to use cautious when considering consolidating debt. Comparison shop to find the best deal. Start with credit unions that have more favorable loans and terms and find the option that is right for you.

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