Crippling Debt?You’re not alone. Those little debts accumulated over a few years really add up (and can be REALLY hard to keep track of).
Get a LoanSound counterintuitive? Yeah, we get it. But debt consolidation is one of the best ways to pay off debt faster.
A Better SolutionDebt consolidation from a bank is fine and dandy, but with a credit union? Think lower interest rates and better financial support.
Okay so that title is (mostly) a joke, but debt is a serious problem. Young Americans between 18 and 29 owe upwards of $1 trillion in total debt, and the problem is not going away anytime soon, as most debt comes from student loans, which have always been and continue to get more and more ridiculous in their terms.
Even worse, many people who are in one type of debt also have other loans they need to pay off. Sometimes, debt can feel like you’re drowning, or climbing a mountain that just keeps getting steeper, or — you know what, you get it. If you’re reading this, you don’t need a bunch of stupid (but also awesome) metaphor; you need help. Let’s dive in.
Types of Debt
There are many types of debt, each more frustrating and challenging than the one before. Okay that’s not true. All debt is frustrating, but the good news is, you’re not alone. Most Americans encounter some form of debt during their lives. If you don’t experience debt, you’re likely very wealthy, in which case 1) congratulations 2) what are you doing here?
The main types of debt are secured, unsecured, revolving and mortgages. Secured debt requires something for collateral purposes. That something is between you and your lender, but it’s usually an asset like a piece of property. If the loan is not paid back, the lender can seize the asset. This sounds like a mob deal, we know, but it’s more common than you think. For example, a car loan is a type of secured debt, since the lender can take your car if you default on your loan.
Unsecured debt is the opposite, lacking any collateral, and is approved due to your credit score and the lender’s trust that you’ll be able to repay the loan.
Revolving debt is an agreement between you and a lender that allows you to borrow up to a certain amount, like a credit card. Finally, mortgages. You probably already know what a mortgage is, as they are the most common and largest debt for a large number of Americans. They’re usually given at 15-year or 30-year rates to keep things affordable-ish.
There’s a pretty good chance you have at least one or more than one type of the above debts. With a student loan, auto loan and credit card, that’s three! If you’ve got all four, that’s a tough situation, but also, way to go for having a mortgage, as that’s harder than ever these days. Anyway, we’re getting off track.
There are plenty of solutions when it comes to your debt (that don’t include selling kidneys or plasma) and it really comes down to how much you owe. If you’ve got a student loan or a credit card, there’s a chance your interest rates are sky high. Many who attempt to pay student loans find they can’t ever seem to make a dent.
For more manageable debts, there are many ways to tackle the problem. From creating a budget to refinancing, you can work patiently and diligently and blah, blah, blah. Again, if you’ve only got one or two small loans, you’re probably not still reading this.
For larger debts, there are also a few various solutions. While many will suggest cutting back on semi-essential parts of your life or taking on a second job (not terrible ideas, but not always good ones either), you can also consolidate your debt into a new loan. Before you bail, let us explain.
Taking out yet another loan sounds, at first, like a bad idea. More debt? Well, not exactly. What you’re actually doing is taking out another loan that equals the value of your other loans. Then, you can pay off all the other ones and pay a single bill each month to work off all your debt in one large chunk instead of paying a lot of little bills.
Debt consolidation doesn’t always make sense — for example, a mortgage will likely be too large for any loan to take care of — but if you’ve got a bunch of little debts floating around and it feels like you just can’t keep track, it could be the right option. And if you are going that route, we strongly recommend using a credit union to do so.
Why a Credit Union?
Credit unions are member-owned, which means any profit they make gets passed directly to members in the form of lower interest rates on loans. This means that your debt consolidation loan could end up being more affordable than simply paying off your debt, as the interest rates will likely be lower.
Many credit unions also offer financial counseling and education services to help you continue to make smart financial decisions. After all, credit unions were made to help normal, not-rich people like us. They want you to live a financially healthy life and will give you the tools and coaching you need to do that.
Also, if you join a credit union and begin saving there, your interest rates on those accounts are often higher, meaning more savings in the long term as you begin your debt-free journey.
Getting out of debt is frustrating and challenging, but you can do it. Finding creative solutions is key, and debt consolidation is often a smart, diligent move. Partnered with the right credit union, it can be a lifesaver.