One sign that a debt consolidation company is reputable is whether or not they are a member of an organization, like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Even if the company verbally confirms to you that they are a member, make sure you still research it to make sure what they are saying is true. A member of an organization like the NFCC has to follow certain rules, like only employing certified credit counselors.
Understand the difference between debt consolidation and a home equity loan. Many companies will guise a home equity loan (where you put your home on the line for the debt) as true debt consolidation. That’s not always the wisest move to make, especially if you have a family involved. Know the differences and the risks before making that decision.
Do you own a life insurance policy? You can cash it in and pay off your debts. Consult with your insurer and find out the amount you can get from your policy. Sometimes you can pay off your debt with an amount borrowed from your policy investment.
Check out different debt consolidation companies. While you may think they all do the same thing, that is not true. Each has their own different set of rules, regulations and fees. Before you sign up with any of them, make sure you compare them to find out which is the best for you.
Talk to friends, family and coworkers. You aren’t the only one with money problems, and chances are that someone you know already has some experience with debt consolidation. This is a great way for you to find a company you can trust, so that you can avoid using a less than reputable company.
To consolidate your debt, try taking out a personal or signature loan. This has become a limited option due to the credit crunch, however. Many lenders that used to offer unsecured, signature loans for consolidation do not anymore. If you find one that offers this option, be sure it’s not a high-interest loan, even if it helps you lower monthly payments by extending the terms.
If you are struggling with debt and have a free and clear title to a car, boat or other motorized vehicle, consider a title loan. A title loan allows you to keep your motorized vehicle as long as you make your payments on time. Many times, you can lower your overall interest rate using this type of service.
If you own a home or land and have built up equity, you may qualify to take out a line of credit or home equity loan. These loans allow you to borrow against the equity of your home giving you instant access to cash to pay off your outstanding debts.
You might be able to cover your debt by borrowing against your 401k plan or your IRA. Only do this if you can afford to pay it back within five years. If you are not able to repay the amount, taxes and a penalty will be required.
If you decide to enter into a debt consolidation agreement with a company specializing in such arrangements, make sure the terms and amount of your recurring payments are set to a level that you can realistically honor every month. The last thing you want to do is start missing consolidation payments, as that basically defeats the entire purpose of your decision.
Are you able to refinance your home? If so, you can do so and take the extra cash at closing. Eliminating your debts can be done quickly this way if you have equity in your home. This is a great way to “reboot” your finances, but you must act responsibly for this to work.
If the worry and strain of debt has long made your life miserable, it is time for you to take heart. Debt consolidation really can offer a viable solution if you know how to assess its pros and cons. Make sure the tips found above stay close at hand as you navigate this landscape.