Should You Consolidate Your Debts?

by David Jenyns on February 23, 2012

How to consolidate your debts

When debts become unmanageable, you may wonder what your options are. One possibility is to combine all of your debts, paying them off through a consolidation loan which has one monthly payment. This usually involves handing debts over to a company which arranges a loan for you and collects a single payment from you each month. In return, the company negotiates with creditors and ensures that they are paid back. The debt management company arranges matters with your creditors so that the money you owe is paid to them. You must have enough money available each month to ensure that the debt repayment plan is practicable and it cannot be applied to paying off a secured debt such as your mortgage.After pursuing other ways of paying off your debts and getting nowhere, you may decide that a debt management plan meets your needs. Instead of rushing into a deal, it pays to spend time looking at the merits of different management companies. Some may operate by taking a fee from you for their services, but not all companies do this. During negotiations with a company, your creditors may be persuaded that the interest on your debt should be frozen, but you cannot rely on this. With any debt management plan, the arrangement will have to ensure that your monthly payments are affordable.When you contact a company in order to consolidate your debts, there are a number of important questions that you should ask before signing anything. One important question concerns the total time period over which the debt will be repaid. Other facts you will need to know are whether there is a fee for the service and whether you will be penalised for paying off the loan early.The Office of Fair Trading normally licenses debt management companies, so it is worth enquiring about this and it might also be wise to shop around, comparing different companies, before committing yourself.

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