When it comes to debt consolidation the first thing you want to do is consolidate your debt, but the first thing you should consider are all of your options. There are in fact more options and help out there than you imagined and just because you are in debt does not mean the situation is hopeless so get up and take charge of your credit rather than letting your creditors take charge of you.
Debt Consolidation Tip #1 Renegotiate With Your Primary Lender
For some reason when individuals are in debt all they want to do is avoid their lenders’ phone calls rather than calling them and trying to work out new terms and asking for some help. There is help available and primary lenders will frequently offer assistance or even renegotiate terms in the event an individual is behind or struggling with payments. In this situation the last thing you want to do is avoid your lender’s phone calls because this will only make the situation worse and negatively impact your credit even more. What you want to do is immediately call your lender or make an appointment when you know your payment is going to be late or if you are struggling with payments. Be upfront and tell your lender the situation and that you want to renegotiate. This of course does not have a 100% success rate, but since your lender will lose money if you default they are more likely to renegotiate and grant you some of the relief you need to make your payments. However, if you never ask you will never know so go ahead and call your lender and see if you can work something out. Making this your first step may very likely negate any of the following steps if it is successful. If not, then you have six more options to consider.
Debt Consolidation Tip #2 Non-profit Credit Counseling Agency
There are a wide variety of credit counseling agencies out there including for profit and non-profit. If you are already in debt and having difficulties meeting your obligations then you should definitely seek out a not for profit credit counseling agency. These agencies have helped millions of individuals get their credit under control and will be able to help you as well. The way these agencies work is you provide them with all of your creditors’ information and the agency calls and negotiates lower payments and/or interest rates. Then you pay a fixed amount to the agency each month and the agency divides up the payments among your creditors. This will keep you on time with all of your creditors and help you get your credit back on track.
Debt Consolidation Tip #3 Credit Card Transfers
This is an option for individuals who have good credit, but are starting to become overwhelmed with their monthly fees as well as interest rates. In this situation the individual should seek out other credit cards with offers of no interest or extremely low interest for a period of time. Then, once they receive the credit card they simply transfer the full amount of their other credit card’s balance. This way the individual will avoid paying the high interest, but for this to work the individual must be disciplined enough to pay off the full balance of the credit card in the introductory period of no or low interest. If not, then this option will not be of much help. However, if you are truly dedicated and committed it is an easy and fast way of handling your credit problems yourself and avoiding paying high interest rates.
Debt Consolidation Tip #4 Borrow from Retirement
When completely over your head in debt you always have the option of borrowing from your 401(k) plan. Most employers will allow employees to do this, however this should be one of your last options. There are some drawbacks to this option, however. If you cannot pay the loan back in full to your 401(k) or other retirement fund then you will be charged a variety of fees and taxes by the IRS, which is never good. Also, if you are fired or leave your job the loan will be due immediately. In addition to this, the interest is not going to be tax deductible during the time of the loan. If you have a 401(k) plan and your employer will allow you to take a loan from it, then you should do so as long as you know you will be able to pay it back as quickly as possible.
Debt Consolidation Tip #5 Life Insurance
You may borrow against your whole life insurance policy as well. This option allows you to take out a loan against the full value of your whole life insurance policy and while there is no time limit in which to pay the loan back you will certainly want to do so because if you do not pay it back the total value of the loan will be subtracted from your insurance benefits, which goes against the reason you have life insurance in the first place. This is a great option if you are disciplined enough to pay it back.
Debt Consolidation Tip #6 Home Equity Loans
If you own your home and have equity built up then you may qualify for a home equity loan. This will allow you to pay off all of your debts immediately, however you will still be required to make a monthly mortgage payment. The drawback to this option is if you cannot make your monthly payments you will risk losing your home. Only consider this option if you are sure you will be able to meet your monthly loan payment obligations.
Debt Consolidation Tip #7 Credit Unions
Credit unions are typical in the fact that they offer low interest loans. So, if you are a member of a credit union see what options you have for loans and their respective interest rates. This could be a great way to get a loan with low interest rates and fees that will allow you to pay off all of your existing debt and then pay a low monthly payment on the loan.