Be Safe When Consolidating Debt
Debt consolidation help comes in many forms these days, and you may find that you have so many debt consolidation options that you have no idea which way to turn. The entire personal finance industry can be a confusing and intimidating arena, especially for those who have very little experience or knowledge of loans and lending choices. You may want to turn to a financial advisor for help in sorting out your personal finances. But if you’ve decided that you want to consolidate your debts and are actively looking for debt consolidation help, here are three important things to keep in mind:
1) Beware of consolidation loans that provide lower payments but higher interest rates than you’re currently paying. Some companies providing loans for debt consolidation help you by lowering your monthly payments, but charge you a higher overall interest rate than your existing loans or credit cards, and then stretch your payments over a long period of time. When all is said and done, if you add up the total payments over the life of the loan, you’ll find that you will end up paying twice as much — or more — than if you’d found another way to pay down those existing loans.
3) Be careful when transferring credit card balances. These days many credit card companies offer debt consolidation help through the means of a balance transfer option. Essentially, the card company offers you a lower rate provided you transfer balances from other higher-rate credit cards to your new account. While the rate may be initially lower, you should find out if that low APR is only a short-term rate designed to entice you to move your money. In some cases those initial rates expire just a few months down the line and then later balloon unexpectedly.
3) Try and find a secured loan. If you need debt consolidation help you may find that your best friend is your home. A home equity loan provides an attractive alternative to unsecured, high-rate loans that stretch out your payments over years but, in the end, cost you more money. Home equity loans almost always offer lower interest rates than other types of loans which are granted with no collateral, because the lender is accepting less risk. Oh, and when it comes to equity, don’t forget your car. If you have a later model vehicle that has a low remaining loan balance or is paid off completely, you may consider asking for debt consolidation help through auto refinancing. In most cases, a loan secured by a vehicle will also offer a lower rate than other types of unsecured loans.
Debt consolidation help is available in today’s financial world, but before you jump in, remember to think carefully. Conduct a background check if the individual you’re dealing with acts shady. You should beware long-term high rate consolidation loans, be wary when approached with an offer for low-rate credit card balance transfers, and consider the possibility of using equity in your home or vehicle.