Dont Let your Consolidated Debt Give you Too Much Freedom

By: Luke Ashworth

A recent poll by a comparison site found that of the people who have taken out consolidation loans, three out of five will go on to running up further debts. The results also revealed that men and women are equally likely to accumulate more debt after consolidating multiple loans into one big debt. So why is this? The main reason many people chose to consolidate their debts is for the convenience and in hope of obtaining a lower interest rate. Once the debt is consolidated there is only one monthly bill that will pay off those lingering debts, no matter if they are credit cards, loans or mortgages.

The danger of consolidating debt however, is once the debt is stockpiled, it makes it easier for borrowers to obtain more money through other loans, such as credit cards and store cards, as the borrower is still only appears to be paying off one debt. The danger is, a consolidated loan may be one monthly payment, but it certainly is still part of a larger debt that must be paid off. A consolidated loan is not an answer to debt problems; it's simply an easier way of dealing with it. It in no way will eliminate or reduce the amount you owe. Only one in four people say they manage to clear their debts early. That said, people who pay off their consolidation loans early are less likely to go on to accumulate more debt.

The recent poll found that whilst both the length and size of loans varied considerably, the average consolidation loan is around ?16,500 and will take over eight years to pay off. The average size of loans taken out by men and women are roughly similar, but twice as many men compared to women manage to pay off their loans early confirming that credit cards and store cards are still a women's market.

However, consolidation loans aren't necessarily a bad idea. After all, it can make sense to roll up several expensive debts into one affordable monthly payment if you are faced with a myriad of claims on your money. But another option is to snowball your debts, meaning paying off debts with the highest rate of interest first while making minimum payments on other loans.

If you do choose to consolidate your loans, do so carefully. For instance, around half the loans taken out by people in the poll carry a penalty for early settlement. This is unreasonable, and is unlikely to encourage borrowers to pay off their loans any sooner. It is also vital to use consolidation loans sensibly, given that those newly paid-off credit cards will be brought back to life with enticing and generous spending limits it can be difficult to resist using them to reward yourself.

Consolidation loans can be a welcome lifeline for people caught in financial difficulties. But the lifeline can quickly turn into a trap if you give in to the temptation of running up further debts. Ensure the loan is flexible if you are disciplined so you can make overpayments or pay the loan off early and make sure that you take out a fixed-rate loan to avoid sudden interest rate rises. Also try to avoid payment protection insurance unless you're absolutely sure you need it.

Never borrow more than you need and definitely don't put your home at risk by taking out a secured loan if you are bad with managing your debt. Also, don't use your credit cards until you have fully paid off your consolidation loan.

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