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Consolidating your debts

Written By adi mulias on Wednesday, November 9, 2011 | 8:04 AM

If you’re heavily in debt here and there with car loans, a mortgage, credit card loan and perhaps the odd product loan it can all feel a bit overwhelming.

So when you’re offered the chance to consolidate all your loans – placing them all with one provider in other words, it can feel very tempting as it’s an overall “simplifying” experience.

Just be careful not to rush in here though. The simple fact is that consolidation can make a lot of sense, but it more usually doesn’t – particularly when a loan company is going to the effort of seeking you out. After all, they don’t do this kind of thing for nothing.

On the other hand, not all consolidation loans are bad by any means. Anyone paying credit card debt, for example, should probably try to stop doing so immediately if they possibly can. If you have a look closely at the APR figures on any credit card debt you have that isn’t subject to a special offer period, you’ll quickly realise why this is.

A good option can be an offset or “all in one” type of mortgage – but the availability of such a mortgage will depend on your overall financial position. If you have sufficient equity in your house and/or earnings or other capital, then an offset may allow you to borrow a little more, clear all other debt and concentrate solely on the mortgage.

If an offset isn’t available, it’s definitely worth shopping around for a consolidation loan; most personal consolidation loans are available at much better rates than credit cards in particular – and so make sense in clearing your more expensive debts. Just make sure you shop around and that the provider is reputable.

The main problem with a consolidation loan, though, is purely psychological (and this is very much the case with offset mortgages). The problem is that the clearance of the loans into one neat “box” (and a much bigger box at that!) frees the mind, so to speak, and if you’re that way inclined, the problem is that you may simply repeat the mistakes of the past and start borrowing again. It’s a downward spiral.

So consolidate, if the figures make sense – but bear in mind the psychology trap.

Written by David, a keen blogger with his own financial advice website. When he's not writing about same day loans, you'll find him playing in the park with his little ones!
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