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The Basic Nuts & Bolts of Debt Consolidation 

The Basic Nuts & Bolts of Debt Consolidation 

by

JG Wentworth

July 8, 2024

6 min

Debt consolidation is shown on the business photo using the text

When seemingly endless credit card bills, personal loans, and mounting interest charges begin to pile up, the burden of overwhelming debt can feel like a heavy weight dragging you down. For many individuals in this situation, debt consolidation emerges as a potential lifeline, offering a way to streamline multiple debts into one manageable payment. But what exactly is debt consolidation, and is it the right solution for your financial circumstances?  

This information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. Such information or materials do not constitute and are not intended to provide legal, accounting, or tax advice and should not be relied on in that respect. We suggest that You consult an attorney, accountant, and/or financial advisor to answer any financial or legal questions. 

Understanding debt consolidation 

At its core, debt consolidation is the process of combining multiple outstanding debts, such as credit card balances, personal loans, and other unsecured debts, into a single loan with a new lender. The primary objectives of debt consolidation are twofold: 

  1. Simplify repayment: Instead of juggling multiple due dates, interest rates, and minimum payments, you’ll have a single, streamlined payment to manage each month.
  2. Reduce interest rates: By securing a lower interest rate on the new consolidated loan, you can potentially save a significant amount of money on interest charges over the life of the debt. 

When to consider debt consolidation 

While debt consolidation can be a valuable tool in certain situations, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Here are some common scenarios where debt consolidation may be worth considering: 

  • High-interest credit card debt: If you’re carrying balances on multiple high-interest credit cards, consolidating those debts into a lower-interest loan can provide substantial savings on interest charges. 

 

  • Difficulty managing multiple payments: If you’re struggling to keep track of various due dates and minimum payments, consolidating your debts into a single payment can help simplify your financial life and reduce the risk of missed payments. 

 

  • Improving credit utilization: Paying off revolving credit card balances through debt consolidation can potentially improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a key factor in determining your credit score. 

 

  • Fixed repayment timeline: Consolidating debts with a fixed repayment schedule can provide a clear light at the end of the tunnel, motivating you to stay on track and become debt-free within a set timeframe. 

 

The consolidation process (in a nutshell) 

If you’ve decided that debt consolidation is the right path for you, here are the typical steps involved: 

  1. Gather information: Collect statements and account details for all the debts you plan to consolidate, including balances, interest rates, and minimum payments.
  2. Assess your credit: Your credit score and creditworthiness will play a significant role in determining the interest rate and terms you’ll be offered for a consolidation loan. Check your credit reports and take steps to improve your score if necessary.
  3. Explore your options: Research different debt consolidation loan options, such as personal loans, balance transfer credit cards, home equity loans, or debt consolidation programs offered by credit counseling agencies.
  4. Compare terms and rates: Carefully compare the interest rates, fees, repayment periods, and overall costs of the various consolidation options available to you.
  5. Apply and consolidate: Once you’ve selected the best consolidation option for your needs, complete the application process and, upon approval, use the funds to pay off your outstanding debts.
  6. Stay disciplined: Remember, debt consolidation is not a magic wand – it merely restructures your debt. Maintain a disciplined approach to budgeting and spending to avoid accumulating new debt while repaying your consolidation loan. 

 

Pros and cons of consolidation 

Like any financial strategy, debt consolidation has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a closer look at the potential pros and cons… 

PROS: 

Lower interest rates: A lower interest rate on a consolidated loan can save you a significant amount of money over time. 

Simplified payments: Having a single payment to manage can make it easier to stay on top of your debt obligations. 

Improved credit utilization: Reducing credit card balances can positively impact your credit utilization ratio and, potentially, your credit score. 

Fixed repayment timeline: A set repayment period can provide motivation and a clear path to becoming debt-free. 

CONS: 

Upfront fees: Some consolidation loans may come with origination fees or balance transfer fees that add to the overall cost. 

Temptation to accumulate new debt: If you don’t address the behaviors that led to your initial debt, you risk falling back into the debt trap. 

Extended repayment period: Depending on the terms of the consolidation loan, you may end up paying more in total interest over a longer period. 

Impact on credit score: While debt consolidation can improve credit utilization, it may also result in a temporary dip in your credit score due to the new credit inquiry and changes to your credit mix. 

 

JG Wentworth might be able to help 

For over 30 years, we’ve been transforming lives through our Structured Settlements and Debt Resolution programs. We continue our commitment to bettering the lives of our clients with debt consolidation. If you feel like consolidation is right for you, contact us today.* 

Remember, debt consolidation can be a powerful tool for regaining control over your finances, but it’s important to approach it with a well-informed mindset and a clear understanding of the potential consequences. By carefully weighing the pros and cons, exploring all available options, and committing to responsible financial habits, you can leverage debt consolidation as a steppingstone towards a debt-free future. 

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* *JGW Debt Settlement, LLC d/b/a JG Wentworth (“JG Wentworth”) has partnered with Even Financial, Inc to provide this loan referral service. JG Wentworth is not a lender and cannot ultimately decide whether or not you are approved for a loan. JG Wentworth does not determine or influence the amount of money you may receive from using this referral service.