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What are the steps to consolidate your debt in New Hampshire?

Managing debt is always a difficult task, no matter where you live. Living in debt is a daunting phase that we all wish to avoid. However, some may accidentally slip into it, and once in, it only goes steeper.

A recent study conducted by Experian shows that the average consumer debt in New Hampshire increased by 3.7% in 2021 to $99,024.

Getting out of debt can be a real struggle for most, but with the right debt relief program, it may not feel like a dream too far-fetched.

Depending on your financial situation, various debt relief programs like the debt consolidation program can help you escape debt fast.

How does debt consolidation in New Hampshire work?

New Hampshire debt consolidation works by consolidating multiple debts into a single and manageable debt, usually at a lower interest rate.

Debt consolidation loans generally have a fixed rate, which means that the interest amount never varies, and you pay one consistent amount towards repayment of the loan.

Here, you still owe the same amount of debt. But instead of paying to several accounts having different interest rates, you repay to a single account at a particular interest rate. Thus, you won’t have to juggle between multiple payment dates and amounts but focus on one.

Usually, you can consolidate your debts at a lower interest rate. In such a scenario, you can save more by reducing the interest amount you would be paying otherwise. This way, you can get debt-free sooner.

Which debts can be consolidated in New Hampshire?

Like any other state, in New Hampshire, you can consolidate unsecured debts, like personal loans, credit card debt, medical bills, payday loans, and other high-interest debts like private student loan debt.

When should you decide to consolidate debts?

Everyone’s financial situation may not be the same. Hence, it is necessary to understand the various debt relief programs available to you and decide the most suitable one for your needs. Likewise, consolidating your debts can be a good idea in the following cases:

When you have several monthly payments toward debts

It may be the first sign that you should consolidate your debts if you have multiple debts to pay. Consolidating your debts can help you to stay more organized and strategize your finances more efficiently. Instead of paying to several different accounts and juggling their payment dates, you can focus on paying to one account when you consolidate your debts. This way, you have a lesser chance of missing the payment dates.

When you have most or all high-interest debts

When you have multiple debts with all or most being high in interest, it may take longer for you to pay off all of them in total. This is especially true when you can only make the minimum monthly payment. In such a situation, that minimum payment amount is probably going towards the interest rather than the principal amount. In this way, you are accruing more and more interest charges each month. You may consider consolidating your debts in such a situation. Consolidating your debts can help you repay your debts at a relatively lower interest rate, which means you will be able to save hundreds and thousands of dollars in the coming years.

When you have a good credit score

When considering consolidating your debts, you must ensure that your credit score is in good shape. Your credit score represents your financial condition to potential lenders.

This is particularly important because your new interest rate depends on your credit score. A higher credit score indicates that you will be eligible to receive a lower interest rate.

When you have a steady stream of income

While considering consolidating your debts, you must determine if you have enough funds to pay them back. For instance, if you have a steady flow of income or other means of acquiring funds, you can depend on that to repay your loan in time every month for the given time frame to get debt-free. Ideally, you also need to ensure that your monthly payments, including debts or mortgage payments, should not exceed 50% of your total monthly income.

When you are determined to come out of the debt-cycle

Lastly, consolidating your debts will help you to pay off your debts faster, but it does not guarantee you will be free from the debt cycle. Debt consolidation is a tool that can help to reduce your monthly payments on multiple high-interest debts. It will only help when you can refrain from unhealthy habits like overspending, taking out new loans, etc.

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What are the pros and cons of debt consolidation in New Hampshire?

Pros of consolidating your debts in New Hampshire:

  • You might receive a lower rate of interest
  • You might be able to repay your debts sooner than before
  • Your monthly payments will be more organized with having one payment to focus on
  • Your credit score will rise with timely payments every month

Cons of consolidating your debts in New Hampshire:

  • Consolidating your debts might come with additional charges like origination fees, annual fees, etc.
  • You might not be eligible for a lower interest rate if your low credit score.
  • You might incur additional charges in case of late or missed payments
  • Debt consolidation does not guarantee that you won’t get into debt again

The consequences of debt consolidation on your credit score largely depend on your situation at that particular time. Consolidating your debt can positively and negatively affect your credit score. For instance, if you use a debt consolidation loan to pay off your credit card balances, you may immediately see a significant drop in the percent of available credit for your utilization. This is your credit usage ratio, which is a substantial factor in determining your credit score.

In addition, if you have been struggling to manage payments to various accounts and are falling behind, consolidating your debts might help you catch up. This, in turn, can help you to raise your credit score.

In short, consolidating your debts into a lower-interest loan may temporarily harm your credit score. However, your credit score will significantly improve if you can make regular and timely payments on the consolidated loan and pay off the debt reasonably. It may increase long-term as you eliminate debt faster and develop a strong payment history.

Gather information related to your debt

Debt consolidation depends on several factors, such as; the number of debts you have, the types of debt, and your credit score. Hence, it is necessary that you first gather detailed information about the debts you owe.

You can do this by gathering each copy of your monthly payments and the latest statements from your bank. With these, you can analyze your total balance, minimum payment every month, payment dates, the annual interest rate, late payments charges, and any other charges. In addition, you should also gather information about additional loans you owe, such as personal loans, student loans, auto loans, medical bills, etc., and your credit report.

Evaluate your monthly income

The key aspect of successful debt consolidation is making payments towards one manageable debt every month and getting rid of debts within the specified period. To make this work, you will need to evaluate your monthly income to ensure you have sufficient funds to support your daily living expenses alongside your monthly payment.

Plan your budget

With a clear picture of your monthly income, you can create a budget for yourself. You can calculate your fixed expenses and estimate your monthly variable expenses. By planning your budget, you can get a realistic idea of what your finances may look like after consolidating your debts.

You may need to calculate your overall debt amount, monthly payments towards them, and the amount you will have left with you after the payments. You can also use a debt consolidation calculator to determine and compare the best ways to consolidate your debts. However, you must remember that you should have sufficient money left with you every month for the payment.

Apply for a debt consolidation loan in New Hampshire

After successfully sorting your debt consolidation budget, you must apply for a debt consolidation loan. However, you should consider a few recommendations when applying for a debt consolidation loan in New Hampshire.

Make sure to carefully review any gracious offer you receive in the mail or other sources. Such recommendations may or may not apply to your situation.

Be cautious before paying in advance. You should never pay a lender in advance or before your loan is authorized and processed.

In addition, never rely on unauthorized cheques that you receive in emails.

These measures will help you be aware of fraudulent firms and reduce your chances of being scammed.

Some points to remember when consolidating debt in New Hampshire

When considering debt consolidation in New Hampshire, you must also keep your other monthly obligations in mind. These may also include secured debt payments which will not be combined in your consolidated loan.

In addition, while consolidating your debts at a lower interest rate or a longer loan term can help improve your financial conditions, you still need to consider the bigger picture. This includes your other expenses, your spending habits, etc.

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What other debt-relief options can you consider in New Hampshire?

Besides debt consolidation, there are some other debt-relief options that you can consider to get rid of your debts faster in New Hampshire.

Debt Management Plan (DMP)

Suppose you cannot find a debt consolidation loan suitable for you or are having difficulty getting approval or qualifying for one. In that case, the best alternative you could consider is a debt management plan (DMP). Like debt consolidation, a debt management plan can help you manage your debts by proposing a debt repayment plan mutually agreed upon by you and your creditors. In addition, it does not involve taking out a new loan to pay off your debts and does not depend on your credit score.

Refinancing your Debts

Besides consolidating your debts, you can also opt for refinancing your debts. Refinancing a loan is similar to debt consolidation. You will have to take out a new loan to repay your existing ones. However, refinancing will only modify the terms of your current loan while keeping the form of debt the same. Typically, you can save money by lowering the interest rate on your loan. You can also consider refinancing and extending the loan period. Although it means paying more overall interest, it makes your budget easier to handle.

Credit Card Balance Transfer

A balance transfer simply consolidates many credit card balances into a single credit card with a 0% interest rate. It is a method of simplifying your payments and paying less interest for an initial phase, typically 12-18 months.

You need a strong credit score to qualify for a credit card balance transfer. Typically a score of 690 or above is ideal for this. Maintaining this credit score may be difficult if you fall behind due dates. A credit card balance transfer may not be ideal if you don’t save money.

Filing for bankruptcy

If you are unable to manage debts and don’t see other ways of being able to pay them soon, you can consider filing for bankruptcy. Filing for bankruptcy may result in an instant pause to income garnishment and foreclosure proceedings, providing temporary relief while reassessing your financial circumstances.

You may file for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, depending on what your situation allows. For example, you may not be eligible for protection under chapter 7 if your income range is adequately high.

With chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, you will have to liquidate your non-exempt assets, use them to wipe off creditors, and use the rest to pay off any outstanding debts.

You can keep your property with chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, although you will not be writing off your debts. Instead, you will be eligible to negotiate with your creditors for a more reasonable repayment plan. This repayment plan may typically last for three to five years.

Bottom Line

Depending on the number and types of debts you owe, debt consolidation can be a valuable tool to pay off your debt faster. However, it will be helpful only if you can handle your finances well and refrain from taking out new loans. It is not an ideal step when you are flooded with debts and have little to no expectation to pay them off.

Thus, it requires careful assessment of your financial situation and commitment to be debt free. It will be beneficial to figure out what causes you to get into debt in the first place and avoid them. This way, you can ensure a successful debt consolidation experience.

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