Many consumers have a variety of debt. All the payments and different due dates are enough to drive anyone crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice to address all of your consumer debt with one, simple, monthly payment? There are many options for consolidating your debt into a single loan and eliminating some of the stress from your life.
1. Credit card consolidation. You’ve seen the offers for 0% interest on balance transfers and purchases for the next year or two. These can be an effective way to transfer all of your debt to a single card and avoid interest payments for a while.
For balances that are unable to be transferred, the credit card could be used to pay off the debt.
Read the small print. Even a single late payment can cause the interest to kick in. In most cases, the interest is actually accumulating from day one. You only have to pay it if you miss a payment. One missed payment can send your whole plan down the tubes.
It’s important to be diligent and ensure all payments are made on time every month.
2. Life insurance loan. If you have a life insurance policy with cash value, you may be able to borrow against the value of the policy. The loan doesn’t even have to be paid back. But it will reduce the amount your beneficiaries receive.
3. Personal loans. If you have a friend or family member with the financial means to help, you might be able to get a personal loan. If your credit is poor, this might be the only option available to you. However, realize that your relationship could be at risk.
A legal document spelling out the terms of the loan can put the lender’s mind at ease.
4. Student loans. Your credit card limit might not accommodate a student loan, but there’s an entire market for student loan consolidation. Since the government guarantees the loan, these loans are easy to get.
You can consolidate multiple student loans into a single loan and payment. It’s even possible to have the payback period extended.
5. Home equity loans. If you secured a great deal on your home or have been making payments for a few years, you have equity in your home that can be used to pay off your other debts. The interest rates are usually quite low because your home is serving as collateral.
Home equity loans can be a convenient and reasonable way to pay off higher-interest debt. However, you’re also putting your home at risk should you get behind on your payments.
It’s also possible to refinance your home and get cash at closing. There are closing costs to consider, but it’s very similar to having a home equity loan. Refinancing will permit you to pay back that cash over the lifetime of the mortgage.
6. Retirement plan loans. Many retirement plans permit the account owner to borrow funds for specific periods of time. You’ll be charged a small amount of interest. The interest payments go into your account, too!
There isn’t a credit check, but you’ll be charged an early withdrawal penalty and taxes on any funds you fail to pay back.
If you have too many debts to manage, debt consolidation might be a good option for you. Debt consolidation is an effective way to deal with high-interest debt by lowering or eliminating the interest altogether. Debt consolidation is another tool to keep available in your financial tool belt.