In Ontario, when consumers or businesses finds themselves in financial trouble there are a number of financial options available to help deal with their debt. In this article, we list the different types of debt consolidation to help you understand which options are available to you if you are having problems managing your debt.
Debt consolidation option number one – use your home to consolidate debt. If you have some equity in your home, it is a very effective choice for consolidating debt. Refinancing your first mortgage, taking out a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit will enable you to obtain low interest financing to consolidate your debt. Mortgages enable you to amortize your monthly payments so you will often have more flexibility when negotiating the amount of those payments.
Debt consolidation option number two – an unsecured loan or line of credit. Where this option is concerned, do lots of research. There are finance companies that offer unsecured consolidation loans at sky-high interest rates. Interest rates that are higher than what you may be paying on your credit cards. They may try to sell you on the benefit of a single monthly payment, which may be lower than what you are paying now – but this could cost you big time in the long run. If you cannot pay your minimum monthly payments any longer and your bank does not approve you for a prime rate loan or line of credit to consolidate your debt, take time to think about your choices before jumping into a high interest consolidation loan with a finance company.
Debt consolidation option number three – credit counselling. Credit counselling agencies are not for profit organizations who obtain funding from the big banks. They will offer you a single monthly payment and pay your debts on your behalf. While you may think that you have received a debt consolidation loan because you are making a single monthly payment, this is not a consolidation loan. Your creditors will receive significantly less than what you owe and these credit counselling programs will cause major damage to your credit report. The repayment could be over 5-6 years and the credit counselling program will be reported on your credit report for 3 years from the date it is paid in full.
Debt consolidation option number four – consumer proposals. Like credit counselling this is not a consolidation loan but many trustees in bankruptcy promote them as though they are because they involve a single monthly payment lower than what you have been paying on a monthly basis. They are a better choice than a credit counselling program because, if negotiated properly, they can significantly reduce the overall amount of debt that you owe. Like credit counselling, a consumer proposal will stay on your credit report for 3 years from the date it is paid in full, however, they do often offer shorter repayment terms. They also offer you protection from your creditors and will stop a wage garnishment or other enforcement option because they are federally mandated whereas credit counselling is not.
How do you know which debt consolidation option is the right one for you? For starters, consider a debt consolidation the same way you would a big ticket purchase. This truly is an example of buyer beware, because when you go to a bank, finance company, credit counselling agency or Bankruptcy Trustee, their objective will be to sell you their products and services. When working with a financial consultant or debt counsellor you can determine the right option and obtain professional guidance to secure the best outcome.