Picking up from a previous entry – let’s provide an explanation of the commonly marketed methods for a person to get out of debt.

One method offered by companies that earn their income through the sale of mortgages is consolidation. The premise here is to roll all your unsecured debt (such as student loans and credit cards/things that have no collateral covering them) into your home mortgage. It has also been suggested to roll secured debt, such as a car loan into this consolidation.

This assumes your home has equity to borrow from. The theory here is that these funds, the money you previously paid to the credit card companies you will now pay to the mortgage companies, which is okay because then you can write it off on your taxes. The problem with this method is that while it may drop your monthly payments a little, and save you a small amount in annual taxes, you are no closer to being out of debt.

In addition, your student loans, credit cards and car loans are now part of a payment schedule that may actually have you paying them off longer than before, or longer than the car lasts. You have also given up the equity in your home, which is not a bad thing if it is part of an overall strategy to reduce the time in which you are in debt, but not a good thing if it is used as a quick fix to have more money to spend each month.

Another method highly marketed is settlement or negotiation. In this case you enlist the services of a company that contacts your creditors for you and negotiates lower interest, a smaller monthly payment, freezing fees or any other method to help you to not have to pay. This method has fault on many levels.

There is no doubt that debt settlement with any company does hurt your credit it is the downside to the process of reducing your total debt using this strategy. an email response from a debt settlement company

Of immediate concern is how this affects a persons credit score. Any company that agrees to a negotiated payment will enter this information into a persons credit history. This information is now there for all other potential creditors to see. Landlords, retail stores, auto loan companies etc now know that you failed to pay back your debts as agreed. This can haunt you for many years to come.

In addition – negotiation may not work. Companies may not agree to new terms, they may agree to terms that are less than desirable, and this will still become part of your permanent credit history. The settlement company is also not in business to lose money and your fees to them must still be paid. I have heard horror stories of unscrupulous companies who were supposed to pay a client’s bills for them and just kept the money or held it for a time before paying it to collect the interest for themselves.

Lastly – where is the morality of not paying your debts? While there are instances of ridiculously high interest rates, and yes – today’s world seems to suck us into buying more than we need or can afford – how can we as adults accept an agreement to purchase something under certain terms and then squirrel our way out of paying for it? I came across a company which claims to have found a loop hole in banking laws and is using that as a way to help their clients end all payments to bank provided credit cards.

When I asked what lesson he was teaching his children by sitting on a couch watching a television, both of which were purchased on a credit card which he now feels he does not have to pay back – he had very little to say.

In summary – consolidation, settlement and negotiation, which should the last resort for some, fails to effectively eliminate debt for ethically minded families.

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