Debt consolidation loans, consumer credit counseling, debt settlement and bankruptcy are all options that should be evaluated if you find yourself in a tough spot. If you’re struggling to keep up with your debt, it’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages associated with each of these options.
Debt consolidation is a process that allows you (if you qualify) to take out a new loan that pays off most or all of your outstanding debt. By combining the debts and paying them off, the new debt consolidation loan might become the only unsecured debt to which you need to make payments, simplifying your life and making it less stressful.
Credit counseling can help you reestablish good credit, whether your hardships are the result of unavoidable financial setbacks or poor decision-making. While you may have to pay modest fees to apply to services such as establishing a debt reduction plan or onsite classes, the credit counseling itself should be free. You should have access to most or all online resources for credit counseling services at no charge and without the need to establish an account.
A debt settlement is an agreement between borrowers and lenders to make a lump-sum payment instead of the full amount owed. It is one of the most aggressive and effective debt resolution methods available. However, it is not a debt relief method you should take on lightly, and you should know it doesn’t always work.
Bankruptcy is an option of last resort.
How to approach debt relief
You need to keep a keen eye out for red flags and make sure you have sufficient information at your fingertips to better understand your debt relief options and avoid costly mistakes and traps.
Being in debt can be scary but if you find yourself in over your head, it’s important that you don’t panic. If you do so, you’ll be more vulnerable to scams and traps. Try to keep calm while you consider your options and you’ll find yourself better able to make wise decisions.