Debt consolidation is a method that is used to reduce the severity of the debts that you may have incurred over a period of time. Under this method, you can take a single loan to clear all the debts that you owe to different creditors. Once you do this, you need not worry about multiple repayments every month. You can also forget about harassment calls from creditors, and focus all your energies on making one payment a month.
There are three primary ways in which you can consolidate your debts. The first is to employ the services of a credit counseling company. These companies negotiate with the creditors on your behalf to reduce interest rates, eliminate late fees etc.
This negotiation comes at a price, and you need to do some research before engaging such a firm. This is because some firms charge very high amounts as service fees, a fact which a debt-pressed individual often fails to take into account. You must remember that if the firm saves you more money than it charges you, then it is a good deal.
The second way to consolidate your debt is to opt for balance transfer, especially when you have multiple credit card debts. All that you need to do is to transfer the high interest loans to a card that charges the lowest interest. This reduces your interest liability significantly.
The third option is to take an actual debt consolidation loan for an amount that you think will pay off all your loans put together. To get such a loan you need to pledge your assets as collateral. The danger is that in case of default, the bank will sell this asset to recover the money. This is a real danger and must always be kept in mind while going for a debt consolidation loan.
To a debt-ridden person all debt-consolidation options appear attractive because they all promise the same thing: freedom. However, before diving headlong into the process, you must weigh the pros and cons of any deal that is being offered. You must compare the consultancy fees and the interest rates being offered by different vendors. Also, check out the tenure period, and your ability to repay the monthly amount.
You must also remember that debt consolidation is only the first step towards a debt-free life. The more important is repayment of the debt amount month after month, not to forget avoidance of future debt.