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We are a society of debtors. No matter how hard we try, it always seems like we owe more money than we make. This is especially true with families in North America. Household debt as a percentage of disposable income increased by over 170% in 2020. Part of this is due to the coronavirus. However, many families were already in debt before the pandemic took hold. Now, they are looking for a solution to right their ships. A possible way to return things to normal is a debt consolidation program. Here are some things your family should know about this form of payment option.
It Combines Debts Into One Payment
The biggest issue families have when controlling debt is to get it down to a manageable amount. With added late fees and interest, it feels like the total added to the principle is minuscule. A debt consolidation program works similarly to a standard loan for a home or car. You’re provided with an amount that closes the accounts of creditors, utilities, and other vendors. In exchange, you pay down the loan.
Firms Work To Negotiate Lower Payments
While debt consolidation firms want to help you, they also try to lower the amount of the loan provided. They do this through a similar exercise as a bankruptcy trustee. They negotiate for a lower pay-off amount. This normally works with loans from other banks, credit card companies, and debt collectors. In negotiating with these organizations, the consolidation firm minimizes its liability. Furthermore, it allows you to quickly pay down the loan.
It Is Not A Form Of Bankruptcy
A debt consolidation program is not a form of personal bankruptcy. In this practice, a trustee is brought on to negotiate with creditors on amounts owed. While bankruptcy features an amalgamation payment similar to consolidation, the effects it has on your credit are more harmful. For example, debt consolidation in Canada is in the form of a loan. Firms support these programs to help families reduce their debt difficulties.
Payment Plans Are Flexible
Though you still make monthly installments on a debt consolidation loan, the time it takes to close it out is flexible. Firms work with you to establish a reasonable payment amount and the months or years you feel it takes to finish things up. There’s a caveat to this. The greater the loan’s length the more interest your family ends up paying. Granted, the value applied to the principal increases over time. However, it’s more incremental for a 60-month loan than for a two-year plan.
It Doesn’t Cover All Debt
Most unsecured debts can be included in a consolidation program. This is in the form of credit cards, mortgages, or auto loans. Yet, some things can’t be added to a debt consolidation program. For example, student loans. Though these are unsecured they tend to be held by a government entity. Thus, consolidation takes place within that institution. Unpaid taxes are also not permitted for inclusion in a debt consolidation program.
Not all Debt Consolidation Programs are the Same
Most debt consolidators want to help you get past the burden of owning money. Hence, they work to get the best value for a program. Nevertheless, not every firm is so giving. Though they say your payments are considerably less than the total of your individual transactions, that statement might only refer to the principal. The exorbitant fees and interest rates they apply make your monthly installments even higher. This is why you must perform a thorough investigation of debt consolidation organizations before a contract signing.
Debt Consolidation is One Step Toward Financial Freedom
Here’s the most important thing to know about debt consolidation programs. They only work well if coordinated with other steps toward financial freedom. To put it another way, you remain in debt if your family continues the same practices.
So, as you pay down your consolidation loan you must learn how to work well with money. This means reducing your expenses, creating a budget, and eliminating the use of credit cards. These changes help get out of the financial basement and into a world of financial security. In the end, don’t let the positives of a debt consolidation program falter.