Debt Consolidation Services, Debt Consolidation Loan, Debt Management AdvicePosted on: June 16, 2008
Managing debt is a daunting task, even if you have good cash flow. A few credit cards with large balances, a mortgage, personal loans - they all add up,and often you find yourself struggling to make the minimum monthly payments. Then the phone calls start ... If you get a caught in a debt crunch - perhaps due to the loss of a job or unexpected major expenses - the key to emerging with your sanity intact is to recognize your situation early and to take quick action. Debt consolidation is a solid option to help you get on the right track. It can be easy to accumulate debt no matter what your profession. A New York minimum wage worker or a Cincinnati criminal lawyer can both be faced with a decision about debt consolidation.
There are quite a few approaches to debt consolidation
Let's explore two options that involve a bit help from outside sources, yet don't involve the dreaded "B" word: bankruptcy: You can visit a lawyer, or you can employ a credit counseling firm. These outfits will work with your creditors to get you back on track with a repayment plan that consolidates most or all of your debt into a single monthly payment. Both of these options involve fees, often worked into the plan.
Whichever route you take, it is vitally important to do some research first. Avoiding a poor lawyer or a disreputable counseling service is the first step in debt consolidation. Use the recommendations of friends; consult the Better Business Bureau; use the Internet to check debt-management discussion boards and review sites. The Federal Trade Commission's web site (www.ftc.gov) is a superb resource.
Whether you choose a lawyer or a credit counseling service for your debt consolidation, the process begins with the assembling of a reasonable personal monthly budget. The law firm / credit counseling service will then negotiate with your creditors for lower interest rates; current and future late fees may also be waived. From there, a single monthly payment will be arranged for a set period of time (usually one to four years); this will be paid to the law firm / credit counseling service, then disbursed to your creditors. The payment is less than the monthly total of your current bills.
The goal of a debt consolidation plan is to repay your debt without crashing into bankruptcy and/or doing irreparable harm to your credit rating. And ... the phone calls will cease, as long as you make your regular monthly payments. It is crucial to monitor the progress of your debt consolidation plan. Keep a close eye on all of your statements and immediately address discrepancies with the law firm / counseling service. Schedule regular meetings to discuss your plan. If you get a better-paying job, consider upping the payments. Vigilance is the key here, and always understand that a debt consolidation plan - and your fiscal health - is ultimately your responsibility.