I'm often asked if debt cosolidation is a good thing. First of all, debt consolidation involves a whole lot more than simply making a single payment. There are actually two types of debt consolidation: Debt Management Plans (DMP) and Settlement Plans (SP). Which one is best for you depends on your situation.
When we're talking debt consolidation, we're talking unsecured debt only -- any debt that is NOT attached to specific items like credit card debt.
What the Heck Are Debt Management Plans (DMP)?
You use these when you want to completely pay off your debt. You choose a provider (more on that later,) and you make payments to the provider, who in turn pays all your creditors. Generally, after three payments your creditors will make concessions for you, like:
- Reduced interest rates
- Lower monthly payments
- Waive fees, such as late payment fees
Pros Of DMP
Cons Of DMP
What the Heck Is Debt Settlement?
This is the option you take when you cannot pay off your debt in full. At some point you have stopped paying your unsecured creditors and you're receiving calls from collection agencies. As with DMP above, you choose a provider (more on that later,) and you make payments to the provider, who in turn pays your creditors. The provider negotiates your payment to the creditors as you're looking to only pay a portion.
Pros Of Debt Settlement
Cons Of Debt Settlement
The Most Important Part: Choosing A Partner
Your Debt Consolidation Provider
This is the most important part of the process. It's no different than hiring a contractor to perform work in your house. Make sure you do your due diligence. Here's what you need to look for:
- A good reputation
- Referred to you from a trusted source
- Offer multiple options for both DMP and Debt Settlement
- Resources to help you become more financially literate
- Relationships with most creditors
There definitely are some unscrupulous characters out there when it comes to debt consolidation. Do you know of anyone who has tried a debt management plan or even full debt settlement? Let us know in the comments below.