Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Consolidate Your Debt - Fast and Easy Methods to Get Started

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are having trouble paying all of your bills, you are not alone. There are scores of programs that are available to you that will help you reach your financial goals. With the economy that we are now facing, it is more important than ever to gain financial freedom and stop living paycheck to paycheck. Below are some simple steps to help you get going!

1.) Find a company that listens to you.

'Listens' is the key word. If you feel like you are getting the bum's rush with a counselor that you are working with, start backing away from the door. If they can not listen to your needs and concerns at the first session, it will only get worse, not better. You want to find a company that you can build a relationship with. It would be great if you could find a representative that you know on a first name basis and who gives you the opportunity to call them back at your convenience.

2.) Organize your bills.

Before you go to your initial consultation meeting with a company you have chosen, gather together your budget, bills, account summaries, loan terms, etc. If you are not already in the practice of doing this, you should be. Designate a little corner of your bedroom, living room, spare room, or closet as the space where you will keep your bills organized. You need to know the due date for each bill and if there are any bills you have automatically taken out of your checking account.

3.) Un-secure your debts.

If you have any debts that are secure (such as secured credit cards) do what you can to un-secure them. Even if that means raising your interest rates. Debt consolidation companies can only consolidate unsecured debts. Which means, your mortgage, car loan, and equity lines of credit can not be a figure in their consolidation. The representative you work with will be able to go over your entire financial portfolio with you and work out something to fit your needs, but keep in mind that they can only work with unsecured debts.

4.) Call your creditors.

Letting your creditors know that you are working with a company to consolidate your debts is not only a courtesy, but a must. Often times, your creditors will only work with certain companies. If you sign a contract to work with Company X, your creditor might not be willing to do business with them. Call your creditors to get a list of companies that they work with. You will save yourself, and your creditors, a lot of headaches this way.

5.) Find a non-for-profit company.

Working with a company that is community based or works on pro-bono cases shows that they are not in the industry to make a penny, they are in the industry to genuinely help those who need it. This is the type of company you want. They have your best interest at heart because they care. A for-profit company may do just as well, but bottom line is that they are in business for themselves. A non-for-profit company is in business for better reasons.

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