Face them head on and get professional help in retracing your steps.
A credit counselor, money coach or financial adviser can comb over your spending and help you identify trends.
A debt management plan is an agreement between you, your creditors and a nonprofit credit counseling organization.
“But consolidation is just a temporary bandage for a bigger problem.” “It’s a tool and it’s not step one because nothing has changed,” agrees Carol Lewis, a certified financial planner who specializes in helping consumers get out of debt.
“By itself, debt consolidation won’t do anything for you.” Tread carefully, the experts say, or you could end up in more financial trouble.
Here are six common debt consolidation mistakes consumers make and how to steer clear of them.
Trap 1: You don’t acknowledge the root of the problem People often turn to debt consolidation because their spending gets out of hand and they can’t manage the repercussions, Bossler says.
Some consolidation plans come with hefty upfront costs from origination fees or transfer fees.
A credit card balance transfer, for example, will likely cost 3-5 percent of the amount of money transferred onto the new card.
But if you aren’t savvy when combining your debts, you could be worse off.
According to a 2014 Gallup survey, the average American credit card holder has 3.7 credit cards; Trans Union 2015 research found the average borrower carries ,142 of credit card debt.
Tack a line of credit, car loan or student debt onto your string of credit card bills, and you can see why debt consolidation looks like a viable resolution.
“Somebody who considers [consolidation] is in over their head, reaching their limits on their credit cards and they’re experiencing financial hardship,” Kathryn Bossler, a financial counselor at Green Path Debt Solutions, says.
Debt settlement is the practice of paying a lump sum to settle a debt for less than what you owe.