DEBT CONSOLIDATION OPTIONS

There are actually many different ways to consolidate your debts. Most people believe that debt consolidation only involves obtaining a consolidation loan from a financial institution. While this is certainly a common way to manage debts problems, there are a number of other very effective methods to reducing payments and managing your finances such as filing a proposal to your creditors. Which option you choose, will largely depend on your individual circumstances and overall debt situation.

CONSOLIDATION LOAN FROM A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION

For those with relatively good credit and not too many debts, a consolidation loan can be obtained from most banks or credit unions. Common debts that people look to consolidate can range from bank overdrafts or lines of credit to high rate credit cards and pay day loans. This type of consolidation loan can vary from a small unsecured loan (not using any asset as collateral) to a home equity loan secured your by home or other asset. Types of debts that can be consolidated are usually high rate credit cards, overdrafts, overdue utility bills and other consumer loans.

Advantages:

  • The consolidation loan would normally have a lower interest rate than the debts to be consolidated. This will allow you to either have a lower monthly payment or keep the same payment abut pay off the loan sooner.
  • A single monthly payment on the consolidation loan is much more manageable thus making it easier to budget and plan your finances.
  • A single manageable loan may make it much easier to avoid damage to your credit rating due to possible late or missed bill payments.

Disadvantages:

  • It is important to view the consolidation loan as a means to pay down your debts under an orderly plan. There can be a risk of going further into debt by continuing to use some of the paid off credit cards etc.
  • Most financial institutions will seek as much collateral as possible when giving a consolidation loan. This can severely reduce your future options and flexibility in dealing with your debt problem should your situation change down the road.  For example, it will  no longer be possible to consolidate or compromise your debts under a consumer proposal if they have now become secured debts using a house or car as collateral. It may also ultimately reduce your ability to keep your home should bankruptcy ever become the last available option.
  • You should also be careful if the financial institution asks for the consolidation loan to be co-signed by a spouse or family member. Just like giving up assets as collateral for the loan, this can severely hinder your ability to take advantage of other options later such as filing a consumer proposal.

While a bank consolidation loan can be the right choice for some people, it is very important to know all your options before making any commitments. For example, filing a proposal though a licensed Trustee can be a very effective choice. It can be used to consolidate your debts and then either pay them in full or just pay a percentage of the total amount owed through a single monthly payment over a period of three to five years and at no interest.

Our professional staff at G. Slocombe & Associates Inc. can advise you of all your debt consolidation options and discuss which option may be best suited to your individual situation.