Debt consolidation is essentially a method of debt relief where you consolidate all your various high-interest debts, such as credit cards, into one single monthly payment. Hopefully, if your credit is still intact, this payment is also at a lower interest rate.

Commonly there are several feasible ways to consolidate your debt, these methods can usually help you streamline your monthly payments and save you money on interest over time.

These are:

• A debt consolidation loan – This one loan would wrap your other debts into one monthly loan payment, which you pay off in installments (hopefully at a lower interest rate) for a set amount of time. All your other higher interest rate cards, short-term loans, etc. would be paid off and the one monthly payment would be tailored to fit a budget you can financially tolerate.

• Balance transfer credit card – This loan concentrates all your existing credit card debt onto one, lower interest card, and can effectively provide you with a much lower payment than the sum of your current payments.

• Debt management programs – Debt management is a method that involves working with an agency, or preferably, with an Oklahoma City debt consolidation lawyer. Your lawyer will negotiate with your lenders, and plan and execute a reasonable repayment plan. Once all your finances are reviewed, your lawyer will help you develop and stick to a plan for sensibly managing all your debt. Your attorney will reach out to all your creditors and effectively negotiate lower interest rates on your existing debt.

Debt management plans outline how much you’ll have to pay each month and for how long. Your attorney will help you remain accountable for sticking to your plan. In many cases, they may even take over the repayment for you and you’ll pay them each month and authorize them to make payment on your behalf.

Consulting with a professional Oklahoma City debt relief lawyer is the best way to determine just what program will best work for you, and your family.

What Makes a Debt Management Program a Bit Different?

The final financial goal of all these debt relief methods is essentially the same: to help you regain control of your debt (hopefully before your credit is affected) and save you some money along the way. The tactics and details, however, are significantly different. Debt consolidation can ostensibly, and with some risk, be done on your own and may require the opening of a new account, whether a personal loan or a new credit card. A formal debt management plan, on the other hand, is usually done with an attorney, and may not involve taking on any additional lines of credit.

It is particularly important to remember that your financial situation is unique. Depending on your credit, amount of debt, previous financial issues, etc., trying to figure out just how to proceed is not always simple. Consulting with a debt consolidation lawyer will assure that you choose the financial path that fits your unique situation.

How and Will These Programs Affect My Credit?

Unless you’re currently far behind on payments, a debt consolidation loan most likely will be your best option if you want to repay your debts and still try to preserve your current good credit.

If you are already behind on payments (or getting there), other programs such as debt settlement, or debt management programs are still an option. They may, however, have a negative impact on your credit.

Debt settlement programs can result in repaying less money overall, but stopping payments can hurt your credit and may lead to more fees and interest. If you incur these additional penalties and expenses, there’s no guarantee that a creditor will accept a settlement offer. When creditors do settle, you may even be forced to pay a portion of your savings to the debt settlement company.

Protecting your credit is particularly important as your credit can impact many aspects of your family’s life. So, if legally feasible, a debt consolidation loan could be best for your credit as they make it easier to repay your bills on time rather than encouraging you to fall behind.

How Do I Know If I Qualify for Any of These Programs?

If paying all your monthly bills is causing stress to you, your family, and your relationships, you probably already feel that you need some help. There are, however, distinct signs that you should consult with a debt consolidation lawyer.
Some of these are:

• You’re making minimum payments on all, or most, of your balances.

• Even your minimum monthly payments are too large for you to handle.

• You’re using balance transfers and other forms of “high interest” refinancing to just stay afloat.

• You’re relying on cash advances.

• Your savings are not increasing or being depleted.

• You’re unaware or ignoring the impending seriousness of your debt problem.

• You’re getting “over-limit” warnings or being declined at the point of sale.

• Your debt issues are affecting your mental health and your relationship with your family and others.

Don’t wait until you can’t qualify for debt consolidation and get the professional analysis and help of an Oklahoma City debt consolidation attorney immediately.

If I Feel I Need Financial Help Now, What Should I Do First?

First, don’t procrastinate or ignore the issue, as the sooner you take action the better you can be guided successfully through this problem. By waiting until you’re getting calls from lenders, and your credit evaporates, take advantage of the excellent programs that can both solve your immediate financial problems, and not destroy your credit.

The law firm of Michell & Hammond, in Oklahoma City, has professionally advised and dealt with families just like yours and assisted clients successfully with these seemingly overwhelming financial problems. Consult with them as soon as possible and get on the right financial path before it becomes a “sinking ship”!