It’s no secret that credit card debt is rampant in America, and has increased in recent years. But with the uptick in the economy, banks and other lenders are feeling more optimistic about extending credit once again. This means that many American consumers will accrue debt that might eventually become a problem for them.
If you’re among them, you may be considering an option like credit card consolidation to help you relieve your debt burden. But before you do so, here are five important things to keep in mind.
Debt relief options won’t help you resolve the underlying issue
Be honest with yourself about why you’re in debt. What habits got you into that position? Are you a big spender? Too eager to put things on credit? Who’s influencing you to overspend or overuse your credit cards? Are you living beyond your means? Are you earning enough income to cover your fixed monthly expenses?
It’s vital for anyone considering entering a debt relief program to consolidate credit card debt to take an honest inventory of the habits that got them into trouble so they can not only work toward becoming debt-free but can stay that way for the rest of their lives. While credit card consolidation can help you get back on your feet, it won’t help you stay strong, so make sure you root out the underlying issue before leaping into a debt relief program.
To be successful in the long run, you need to change your spending habits
Most Americans don’t know how to manage their money, and credit cards simply don’t help. If you have a difficult time resisting the lure of the plastic cards in your wallet, do away with them and opt to live off of cash instead. This is especially important if you are stuck in a pattern of spending more than you make each month. Changing this pattern – and committing to this change for the long haul – is the key to success in any debt relief program.
Understand your credit card consolidation options, as not all consolidation loans are created equal
Credit card consolidation is not a cure-all – it is simply a tool to help you work your way out of a difficult financial situation. That said, not every credit card consolidation tactic will be right for you. Make sure you understand your options, from balance transfers to consolidation loans, and talk to your team at a debt relief company like ours to see which one is best. In doing so, choose a partner who, like our team at Countrywide, is experienced, savvy, and trustworthy.
You can’t afford to delay
Procrastination is NOT a good policy when it comes to debt relief. If you wait too long to start your credit card consolidation process, you will not only make your debt problem bigger (literally) but you can also limit your options. But by being proactive, you can position yourself to resolve your debt under the best terms possible.
While some consumers think that simply keeping their heads above water through their minimum payments will keep them afloat, this isn’t necessarily true: While you’re making these payments, your interest constantly increases. Talk to your debt relief team to make sure you’re taking an aggressive approach that will wipe out your balance as quickly as possible.
Jumping headlong into a last resort option isn’t always the best move
If you become discouraged by the debt relief process, whether you’re still exploring credit card consolidation options or you’ve already entered a program, know that there are additional options available to you other than bankruptcy. If you want to change tactics, you can. If you want to stick it out, you can (and should!). but deciding that your only option is declaring insolvency can have a long-term impact you may not have anticipated or desired, like a ten-year blemish on your credit report and difficulty obtaining future loans.
Let us know if you’re struggling with your credit card debt. Our experienced team has helped thousands of consumers like you get out of debt through consolidation loans and other tactics, without having to resort to bankruptcy or walk straight into insolvency. Give us a call to learn more about how we can partner with you on your journey to financial freedom.