Get Out of Debt Guy

I Want to Consolidate All My Debt. But How?

Posted January 23

WRAL Reader Question

Dear Steve,

I have $25,000 in school loans, also $10,000 to payback to the state, another $5,000. In credit card debt, along with child support payments. Rent and other living expenses, I would like a way to consolidate this debt so I can repay it , but don't know how to go about this.

How do I get my student loans and other debts consolidated so I can make a doable payment each month?

Paula

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Dear Paula,

I'm not sure what has led to your accumulation of debt but it seems clear it has been building over time. 

Keep in mind that debt is not the problem, it is the symptom of the true underlying issue. And that issue might be as simple as under earning or running into unexpected expenses which surprise you when you don't have a solid emergency fund.

For your school loans I'd suggest you read this guide for some good options.  On the amount you owe to the State you should inquire what your payment options are and see if they offer a repayment plan you can afford. Often the state and federal interest rates charged on such plans are very reasonable and much less expensive than a consolidation loan.

The credit card debt can be simple to knock out but the issue might just be the credit card balance is the result of placing expenses you can't pay in cash on the credit card. Essentially financing a life beyond your income. One big clue is if your balance in increasing rather than being paid off.

The goal should be to get your life to fit back within your income, obligations, and factor in some amount to save each month to build or rebuild your emergency savings account. The only surefire way to do that is generally to increase your income, reduce your expenses, or both.

The credit card debt is the least problematic debt. If you disregard the student loan debt you may find 20 percent more tacked onto the balance as a penalty fee and your wages administratively garnished, the State can garnish your wages as well after suing you and may even put a lien on your assets, depending on what the debt is for. And of course not paying your child support payments can cause you to lose your drivers license or worse.

But if you want to look into a debt consolidation loan then I suggest you read this guide on what to look for and what to avoid.

Steve

Steve Rhode
WRAL Get Out of Debt Guy

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About this Blog:

Steve Rhode has had careers in opthalmology, real estate and as the head of a nonprofit debt counseling firm. On his blog, he offers hard-won, free advice about getting out of debt, consolidation and making the right choices as you manage your money.