Debt Consolidation: What Can It Do For You?

By: Timothy Rea

Debt consolidation has become the parachute to save millions of people from declaring bankruptcy. Yet, so many more people don't know how to get started with debt consolidation. Their credit is poor, the bills are piling up and the phone rings day and night with bill collectors trying to get a piece of what they have left. A second credit card is used to help pay off the first, a third to pay off the second. A house is refinanced to help pay off the credit cards and catch up on the mortgage. Instead of minimizing damages, they snowball into exponential amounts. Where can a person start to reverse the damage done?

Debt consolidation companies are ready, willing and able to help those who are ready to make a commitment to becoming debt-free. Many debt consolidation companies give a no-obligation first visit to see if they can help. They ask a potential client to bring in the checkbook, bills and bank statements. A credit score is obtained and a credit history to see if there are any outstanding tabs due. You will be asked questions so that they can determine where your money goes and how much can be taken out of your account by them to pay your bills and still leave some "fun" money.

The debt consolidation begins with the company compressing all bills into one convenient payment. Instead of you having to write a check for each credit card, loan, car payment, and utility you would instead have the debt consolidation company taking out one lump sum every two weeks (or weekly, monthly etc- you will decide). Afterwards, to further merge your debt baggage the debt consolidation company begins calling various creditors to try and knock down what you owe. Interest rates may drop and late fees/bounced check fees may be reduced or eliminated.

Debt consolidation takes on average 3 to 5 years to get all your bills up to date and your debts paid off. Depending on the deficit, it can take a shorter time (6 months) or they can tailor a much longer time if you have a long debt road to travel. (7+years) Your first thought on seeing "7 years" may be that you could file for bankruptcy and in that frame of time the bankruptcy would drop off your credit history. But the government has made it more difficult to file. If debt consolidation and a clearing of past dues only takes a few years, it's obviously a better choice to keep your credit score high and keep future credit available to you.

Recently an acquaintance mentioned that he had used a debt consolidation service with excellent results- his being debt-free. He was twelve thousand dollars in debt upon joining the service. Every two weeks, one hundred and fifty dollars was taken out of his checking account. He was responsible for paying his mortgage, electric bill and long distance phone bill, but the debt consolidation company took care of the rest. They sent reports to him showing that the dozen places or so he owed were paid something each month. In three and a half years time, everything was up to date.

If you are a person needing to change your financial direction or you know somebody who does, point them towards debt consolidation. Don't let the financial cycle continue.

"My credit is so bad they won't take my cash." -Chris Rock in Head of State

Debt Consolidation
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