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Debt consolidation is a simple, safe, and effective way for people with excess credit card debt to responsibly pay off their debts without filing for bankruptcy and without having to get a loan. Consolidating your unsecured debts, such as credit card debt, could help you get out of debt in a fraction of the time it would take you on your own, especially if you can only afford to make the minimum monthly payments.
It happens to millions of us every year. Before we know it, our credit card balances are just too high to even consider paying off in full at the end of the month, and we come to the sad realization that we are, in fact, buried in credit card debt - the very thing we promised ourselves would never happen.
The average American family carries just over $15,500 in credit card debt, and most carry their balances from month to month. If you're in this situation and you don't see it changing anytime soon, it's time to seriously consider taking action to get the debt relief you need to regain control of your finances. There are a number of options available, and it really does depend on your own circumstances as to which debt relief option is best for you. One thing's for sure, it won't get better on its own. You have to do something or your situation will progressively get worse. Here are just a few of the options available to you:
Option 1: Do nothing. This is certainly the easiest option. Just keep making the minimum payments and in about 20-30 years you'll have your credit cards paid off. Of course, if you're concerned about your credit score, you may want to reconsider. Carrying high balances compared to your credit limits will greatly impact your credit score. Having too much debt impacts your debt-to-income ratio, which is also used when determining your score. All of this makes everything else you finance more expensive. Think of the difference an interest point or two makes on a mortgage or a car loan. Keeping balances down helps keep your credit score up, making you less of a credit risk to lenders.
Option 2: File for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a viable option for some people, but it's not appropriate for every situation. You don't want to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Many people who file for bankruptcy truly have no other choice. In fact, the courts are very strict about ensuring that only those who truly need bankruptcy protection will get it. In a bankruptcy filing, many of your assets could be liquidated to pay your creditors, and hiring an attorney to lead the process can be very costly. Bankruptcy will also leave a stain on your credit report that will stay for many years. Bankruptcy should only really be considered once all other options have been exhausted.
Option 3: Debt consolidation. Out of these options, debt consolidation is the simplest, and the safest. It allows you to responsibly get out of debt without the dire consequences of doing nothing or filing bankruptcy. Any consolidated debts will be combined into one monthly payment date of your choosing instead of owing several bills at several times of the month. Also, many companies will lower your interest rates and waive fees that have incurred once you have consolidated your debts.