DVD Talk Forum

DVD Talk Forum (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/)
-   Other Talk (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/other-talk-9/)
-   -   Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt (https://forum.dvdtalk.com/other-talk/640823-looking-way-consolidate-debt.html)

Dr. DVD 07-23-17 03:50 PM

Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
Bottomline: I have about $22K of debt that has occurred for a combination of reasons with different credit card companies. I want to find a way to consolidate it all into one location with a low APR. I know that I will be able to pay it all off in two years, maybe less. I just need low APR and a place to put all of it .

What I don't want:
-Companies that try to re-negotiate the debt that involve stopping payments to the creditors and eventually getting calls from collectors who are supposed to be talking to the debt relief company but the company is just taking me for a ride. I've read up on these companies (Freedom Debt Relief, American Freedom Debt, etc.). While I am making small payments, I am making them on time and still have a decent credit score. I know this approach will make it take a hit.

-A loan amount that says I've been "pre-approved" when in reality I haven't that offers an amount for $10k more than I need so I can be $35K in debt instead of $22K in debt. AKA legalized loan shark companies.


I shouldn't have let this happen but it did. I know I can get it paid off in two years or less. I just need a plan to get it all in one place where I can pay it off with low interest.

Troy Stiffler 07-23-17 04:11 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
I went through this before. You won't be able to consolidate anywhere. Unless maybe you have a house you can pull equity from. The days of going to the bank and getting a loan are over.

I needed money around 2012-2015. I had around $20k in debt. It put my credit score around 600.

There's no easy way out. Just pay off the cards little by little. If you're in collections on anything, you can agree to lower settlements.

Consider what you can do to gut your day-to-day living budget.

Sorry. :)

Dr. DVD 07-23-17 06:06 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
I still have a decent credit score as I am able to make small payments on time. Problem is they don't make enough of a dent. I do have a house from which I could draw equity, but don't want to take that route just yet. My large expenses are for mortgage payments , and while I make decent money, I don't claim any exemptions so about 30% of my check is gone before I see anything.

Ky-Fi 07-23-17 06:33 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
Do you have a 401k that you could get a loan from? I did this to consolidate some debt a few years back. The upside is that you're paying the interest back to yourself.

Jason 07-23-17 06:34 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
I found it very effective to start out with the smallest balance and work like hell to pay it off first. Minimum payments for the others, everything to this card. Then work up to the next card.

It'll give you a sense of accomplishment, it'll more quickly reduce the number of creditors. Even with a lot of debt, having one or two big bills is better than having a whole bunch of little bills. In other words, one $20 thousand account is better than twenty $1 thousand dollar accounts.

Another path is transferring to credit cards with zero interest for limited times. Once you start to get your credit cleaned up these will start showing up again. If you do get to transfer to a low/zero interest card, set up a payment schedule to pay off the entire thing in that time frame and stick with it.

Troy Stiffler 07-23-17 07:57 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD (Post 13119418)
I still have a decent credit score as I am able to make small payments on time. Problem is they don't make enough of a dent. I do have a house from which I could draw equity, but don't want to take that route just yet. My large expenses are for mortgage payments , and while I make decent money, I don't claim any exemptions so about 30% of my check is gone before I see anything.

Well there are no special programs out there for you. If Wells Fargo/Chase/etc. is going to give you a loan, go and apply and get a loan and consolidate. Otherwise, you're just going to have to keep the balances. If you do apply at Wells Fargo/etc. remember ... there's no convincing a bank to give you a loan. That ended in the 1990's. Now you just fill out an application. If your credit history meets their criteria, they'll give you a loan. You can do it online and have an answer in less than a minute.

E Unit 07-23-17 08:39 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
Another tactic you can use is to call each of the credit card companies and negotiate a lower interest rate. They can work with you and if you tell them you will not use your card anymore until the balance is paid, they can freeze in a rate for you. Keep in mind if you do go this route, do NOT ask them to close the account, just that you won't make any more charges to them. That way as you slowly pay them off, you credit/debt ratio starts looking better and your credit score goes up.

The Questyen 07-24-17 12:08 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
I used one of those debt consolidation places online like 12-13 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had multiple maxed out credit cards with high interest rates and had lost my job. After I signed up with them and they did their thing I never heard from any bill collector again. They knocked all my interest rates down way low and I just had one bill to pay each month and I got out of debt in less than two years.

I hear nothing but bad things about these type of companies now days but at least at one time they were life-savers.

Michael Corvin 07-24-17 12:19 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by Jason (Post 13119433)
I found it very effective to start out with the smallest balance and work like hell to pay it off first. Minimum payments for the others, everything to this card. Then work up to the next card.

It'll give you a sense of accomplishment, it'll more quickly reduce the number of creditors. Even with a lot of debt, having one or two big bills is better than having a whole bunch of little bills. In other words, one $20 thousand account is better than twenty $1 thousand dollar accounts.

Another path is transferring to credit cards with zero interest for limited times. Once you start to get your credit cleaned up these will start showing up again. If you do get to transfer to a low/zero interest card, set up a payment schedule to pay off the entire thing in that time frame and stick with it.

:up: The Ramsey method. Effective. I highly recommend reading his book, or checking out his radio show/podcast. I went through the class last fall and loved it. That runs $100 which sounds kinda counter intuitive when trying to pay off debt, but even if you think you know everything there is to know about money, you'll still learn plenty(covers debt, saving, investing, insurance, negotiating, etc). In other words, it covers a LOT of ground, and he's pretty entertaining.

I paid off all my debt in 9 months (about $19k) and saved 6 months of expenses in an emergency fund. So basically, sitting better after giving his method a 'go' then at any point in my life. So at best I have no debt and have six months in a savings account. At worst, just giving it 9-12 month shot even if I didn't agree with every method or stance, I'm still sitting debt free with a decent savings amount. Win-win.

I know he has his detractors, but the results speak for themselves.


Originally Posted by Ky-Fi (Post 13119432)
Do you have a 401k that you could get a loan from? I did this to consolidate some debt a few years back. The upside is that you're paying the interest back to yourself.

And speaking of Ramsey, I've heard him address this a few times as being a horrible idea in the long run. I can't recall the details on why the math doesn't work in your favor though. Maybe this and this can explain it.

fumanstan 07-24-17 02:34 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
I've gone a few routes -

1) I happen to have a credit card with a high credit limit that frequently sends balance transfer checks with 0% APR offers for 12-18 months or so, and i've consolidated debt on 2-3 other cards to that. The fee kind of sucks, but if you have a couple cards with lower balances it's nice to keep it all in one place.

2) I've gotten a loan from one of those companies, in this case Upstart.com. APR was about half that of most of my cards, so aisde from consolidating a lot of credit cards I was able to consolidate and lower my APR overall, albeit with a higher minimum payment per month to repay the loan. I was able to pay this off early though, which was great.

mndtrp 07-24-17 10:20 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
As others have mentioned, it's going to be tough to get a loan from a bank. For-profit debt consolidation companies can cause more problems than you already have. I believe there are non-profit consolidation companies, or they may just provide guidance, I can't recall any more.

0%APR cards with a balance transfer can work out well, if you pay attention to what you're doing. Pay it off while the introductory rate is in effect, not after.

Loans from the 401k are a bad idea due to losing out on the compounding, which can amount to quite a bit down the road.

Try negotiating interest rates directly. That's primarily what any company will do for you anyway. Using either the snowball (pay as much towards lowest debts first) or the avalanche (pay as much towards highest interest debts first) methods to get rid of debts individually. If monthly cash flow is ok, I prefer the avalanche as it saves more money in the long term.

VitiminJ 07-24-17 10:55 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by Jason (Post 13119433)
I found it very effective to start out with the smallest balance and work like hell to pay it off first. Minimum payments for the others, everything to this card. Then work up to the next card.

It'll give you a sense of accomplishment, it'll more quickly reduce the number of creditors.

This. Then once the first card is paid off you apply the minimum payment amount from the paid off card to the next balance. It's the Dave Ramsey "snowball" effect. It works because it shows progress. Others will say work with the highest interest. You can but in the big picture you don't accrue too much more interest this way. Maybe a few hundred dollars at most if you're really fighting like hell to pay it all off.

Put it all on paper, your monthly expenses, debt, fun money, all of it. You need to know where your money is going, and then change it up. You should cover living cost first then debt. Always keep a roof over your head and food on the table. Don't get behind on rent or mortgage.

I would advise against borrowing from a 401k. It's too big of a hit in the end. You can stop contributing to a 401k and apply that amount each week! If your 401k is maxed you can apply $250 each week after taxes. The key is you must be diligent and apply that money or it will be eaten up in frivolous spending. Paying if off yourself and not borrowing from 401k will teach you know to cards anymore. It faces the problem head on.

Set up a weekly payment too. It doesn't sting as bad when it's a little at a time. Or at least it doesn't feel as bad when it's all due at once.

By reducing our weekly spending and stopping 401k for a short time we were able to knock out our cc debt, car payments and student loans in 24 months. About 40k in all.

Good luck you can do it.

LurkerDan 07-24-17 11:23 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by Dr. DVD (Post 13119345)
Bottomline: I have about $22K of debt that has occurred for a combination of reasons with different credit card companies. I want to find a way to consolidate it all into one location with a low APR. I know that I will be able to pay it all off in two years, maybe less. I just need low APR and a place to put all of it .


Originally Posted by Dr. DVD (Post 13119418)
I still have a decent credit score as I am able to make small payments on time. Problem is they don't make enough of a dent. I do have a house from which I could draw equity, but don't want to take that route just yet. My large expenses are for mortgage payments , and while I make decent money, I don't claim any exemptions so about 30% of my check is gone before I see anything.

Color me a little doubtful that you can pay it off in two years with a low APR, but right now can only make small payments from time to time that don't make enough of a dent.

At $22k and, say, a 4% interest rate, to pay it off in 2 years would be $950/mo, roughly. At 20% APR, the same payment would pay it off in less than 3 years. What is stopping you? Because it isn't the interest rate.

What are you really expecting from a bank? And there really is no other way to do this without a home equity loan, refinance to pull cash out, or a HELOC. But if there are costs/fees associated with any of those, the cost of getting the money might outweigh the interest savings.

Michael Corvin 07-24-17 11:37 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by VitiminJ (Post 13119860)
This. Then once the first card is paid off you apply the minimum payment amount from the paid off card to the next balance. It's the Dave Ramsey "snowball" effect. It works because it shows progress. Others will say work with the highest interest. You can but in the big picture you don't accrue too much more interest this way. Maybe a few hundred dollars at most if you're really fighting like hell to pay it all off.

Put it all on paper, your monthly expenses, debt, fun money, all of it. You need to know where your money is going, and then change it up. You should cover living cost first then debt. Always keep a roof over your head and food on the table. Don't get behind on rent or mortgage.

I would advise against borrowing from a 401k. It's too big of a hit in the end. You can stop contributing to a 401k and apply that amount each week! If your 401k is maxed you can apply $250 each week after taxes. The key is you must be diligent and apply that money or it will be eaten up in frivolous spending. Paying if off yourself and not borrowing from 401k will teach you know to cards anymore. It faces the problem head on.

Set up a weekly payment too. It doesn't sting as bad when it's a little at a time. Or at least it doesn't feel as bad when it's all due at once.

By reducing our weekly spending and stopping 401k for a short time we were able to knock out our cc debt, car payments and student loans in 24 months. About 40k in all.

Good luck you can do it.

:up:

Other "outside the box" things to look at.

W4: If you are getting a big refund every year, you've might have your W4 setup wrong. I changed mine and instead of the government holding my money, I started getting a good $75-$100 more on each check which adds up quick paying off the debt. You have to be careful here though so you don't end up owing.

Insurance: This is one area where I've put off because I hate dealing with insurance agents. I know when I finally do it, I could probably save another $100-$150 a month by switching companies & dropping plans I don't need.

And just like that, I "created" an additional $250 income a month.

Then there's the little stuff that most people think of first like dropping cable (or tiers to save a bit), ridiculous cell plans, revisit other subscriptions like Netflix, Spotify, etc. see if you can live w/o while paying down the debt.

Dr. DVD 07-24-17 07:42 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
Thanks for the advice. Snowball effect sounds good. Interesting how debt relief companies are now seen as scams when they used to work for people. I guess after the recession too many businesses got burned and refuse to work with them the way they claim.

Troy Stiffler 07-24-17 07:56 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
You hear about "settling debts". But I played hardball with some creditors before. And they'll take a $1500 account down to $1200 (we're talking 2-year old debts that were already sold off). But it's not what people think ... where you can get them to settle for 10%. Though I never went to a lawyer, as my debts were never too big ... maybe they're better at playing the game.

As I remember, the people you talk to are really thick skinned. I remember one guy said if I don't pay, they're going to take my car and levy my checking account. All I wanted to do was settle the account on the spot for money I actually had (at around 30%). I didn't have a car at the time. So I just kind of laughed and hung up. Two weeks later I was served with court papers, and they added another $1200 to my debt.

After that, I just kind of stopped answering the phone and trying to deal with those people. Had I not been in touch with the collections company, they wouldn't have done that to me. So they lost my willing to engage at that point.

I also remember one time, I got a phone call from a guy, who claimed to be a police officer. He said that there is a warrant out for a family member's arrest, and they'll be arrested by the end of the day if they can't settle the debt. That's probably the most awful collection attempt I've ever witnessed. It was crazy. I knew right away it was a bluff. But my parents were very worried and it turned into this weird situation throughout the day. I guess the collections company called me, my parents, and I assume anyone else they could dig up as being associated with this person.

Abob Teff 07-24-17 11:51 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
I know Dave Ramsey promotes halting payments to your 401k, but that is one area that I disagree with him on. (Yes, he is smarter than I am though.) Well, I guess it depends on your employer-match situation. I have considered halting my contribution to help catch a few things up, but my employer matches me 100% on the first 3% and 50% on the next 3%. To me, it makes more sense to take the 100% and 50% return.

Then again, I still say your odds of winning the car are 50/50. ;)

LurkerDan 07-25-17 10:51 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by Abob Teff (Post 13120594)
I know Dave Ramsey promotes halting payments to your 401k, but that is one area that I disagree with him on. (Yes, he is smarter than I am though.) Well, I guess it depends on your employer-match situation. I have considered halting my contribution to help catch a few things up, but my employer matches me 100% on the first 3% and 50% on the next 3%. To me, it makes more sense to take the 100% and 50% return.

Then again, I still say your odds of winning the car are 50/50. ;)

I don't know Ramsey's stuff, but does he really suggest not contributing to a 401k when there is an employer match? Pretty much every last piece of financial advice I have ever heard says that regardless of what you do or don't do for retirement, you contribute to the 401k up to the match amount, because not doing that leaves free money on the table.

nemein 07-25-17 12:15 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
It's been awhile since I've gone through Dave's course but I don't recall the stopping the 401K thing. As mentioned especially when there is an employer match it doesn't make sense to stop it.

Also speaking of 401Ks taking a loan against that is one of the worst things you can do IMHO. Not only are you losing out on the compounding interest effect, but if you leave your job for any reason you are going to have to pay that back.

Michael Corvin 07-25-17 06:14 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
Yes, that's what he teaches. It's a temporary hold until you get out of debt.


Originally Posted by Dave Ramsey
QUESTION: Nathan in Ohio and his wife are on Baby Step 2. However, Nathan isnít comfortable with stopping his 401(k) contributions. Dave explains why making this a part of the Baby Steps is a good idea.

ANSWER: Youíre like me. Youíre kind of a math nerd. You understand the compound interest tables, and so that sounded like blasphemy to you when you read it. That wouldíve been my reaction, too, because thatís how I started. But what I have figured out now in 20 years of financial counseling is that personal finance is about 80% behavior. Itís only about 20% math. There is a power that focusóextreme levels of intense focusógives you that supersedes math on the short term. I would not suggest you lose your match and not put money in your 401(k) for 10 years. But for 10 months or 14 months while you focus exclusively on debt, there is something that happens in your spirit and your emotions and your relationship when you just say youíre going to put the blinders on and all youíre focusing on is pounding this debt. And youíre going to pound it extra hard because youíre mad that youíre out of your 401(k) right now. Thereís something that happens there that is alive and not mathematically quantifiable but on the short term, being out of debt causes you to become wealthy on the long term.

If youíre looking at two years or less to get out of debt in Baby Step 2, yeah, Iíd stop the 401(k). Iíve been doing this a long time, and I still get a lump in my throat when I say to do that. But itís really what Sharon and I did, and itís really worked for a lot of people. Itís that power of focus thing. Youíre permanently searing into the relationship in your household and into the two of you a whole new way of looking at things.

We didn't stop my wife's 6% match either(I don't have one), as we were going to be done in 9 months regardless. Going through the hassle of stopping/starting seemed more like a pain then anything for that brief period.


Originally Posted by Abob Teff (Post 13120594)

Then again, I still say your odds of winning the car are 50/50. ;)

:lol: Well, there you go.

Barth 07-25-17 06:37 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
A lot of companies have instant vesting on 401k now. I look at it this way....If I have a modest salary of 40k and I contribute 5% that means I put in 2k a year. If the company match is 5% they put in 2k a year. Boom, my salary is really 42k without even really thinking about it. 401k is usually pre tax helping you even more.

LurkerDan 07-25-17 09:16 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by Michael Corvin (Post 13121268)
Yes, that's what he teaches. It's a temporary hold until you get out of debt.


I would not suggest you lose your match

He says not to give up the match, just the "extra" 401k payments.

Michael Corvin 07-26-17 11:48 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 
:hscratch: Not sure about that one. At least once a week someone calls in asking and he says even if you get a match, put it on hold.

nemein 07-26-17 11:57 AM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by LurkerDan (Post 13121438)
He says not to give up the match, just the "extra" 401k payments.

You need to finish reading the sentence ;)


I would not suggest you lose your match and not put money in your 401(k) for 10 years. <b>But for 10 months or 14 months while you focus exclusively on debt</b>, there is something that happens in your spirit and your emotions and your relationship when you just say you’re going to put the blinders on and all you’re focusing on is pounding this debt. <b>And you’re going to pound it extra hard because you’re mad that you’re out of your 401(k) right now. </b>

LurkerDan 07-26-17 02:51 PM

Re: Looking For Way to Consolidate Debt
 

Originally Posted by nemein (Post 13121805)
You need to finish reading the sentence ;)

I read the sentence, and in fact the whole quote. Maybe he means what you say he does, I don't listen to the guy, and I'll admit that his wording is a little confusing. But I work with language and the meaning of words every day, it is my job, and there is no other way to interpret "I would not suggest you lose your match". It is separate from the rest of the sentence because the rest applies to all people with a 401k, including those who have no match. For me, who has no match, he is saying "don't contribute to the 401k for a short period of time while you pound debt." But what does "I would not suggest you lose your match" mean in the context of the quote, if it doesn't mean "contribute to the match amount, but other than that don't contribute to the 401k for a short period of time while you pound debt." If he is saying here that you should suspend even the matching amount, then what does it mean to say "I would not suggest you lose your match"? Are you honestly saying that means "I would not suggest you lose your match but I'm suggesting you lose your match"?

Again, I am not going by what he says on his radio show or anywhere else. So I cannot speculate on what he might have intended with this statement, just going by what it says. And while it is a little convoluted on the subject, it seems to say not to lose your match, but do all the other stuff. But maybe that is not what he meant. :shrug:


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:18 AM.


Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.