It is virtually impossible to describe the pain and suffering that extreme debt levels have on individuals and their families alike. For that reason, it is important for anyone dealing with that reality to gain some education on the topic of debt consolidation. The information presented below is intended to help such individuals assess their options with eyes wide open. Don’t fall victim to companies claiming to cut your monthly payments in half with just one phone call. It is understandable that you want a quick solution to your problems, however, you can just be making your situation worse. Sit down and consider the different debt consolidation options that are available to you and decide on the pros and cons. When consolidating debt, consider doing the footwork yourself. Consolidation companies may have fees associated with their services. However, you can easily make the same phone calls to your creditors and negotiate with them. There is no special consideration from the creditor about who calls, whether a service or you, the customer. Find out whether or not the counselors at a debt consolidation company work on commission. Those that do often have ulterior motives. You may be advised to get a certain type of service that is not necessarily in your best interest. Someone who is not working on a commission is more likely to look at the whole picture and figure out what is best for your needs. Before choosing a debt consolidation company, ask how the counselors of the company are paid. If the answer is “on a commission basis”, then you may be best to look elsewhere. Someone working for commission will say or do many things that are less of a help for you and more of a help to their overall income. Examine how the interest rate for your consolidated debt is calculated. Fixed interest rates are an ideal option. Throughout the course of the loan, you know precisely how much you have to pay. Look out for debt consolidation plans with adjustable interest rates. Eventually, you will be paying more interest than you did in the beginning. Do you own a house but have debt? Refinance it and use the money to pay off your debts. When mortgage rates are low, you can use this method to consolidate your debt. Also, you may find that the payment on your mortgage is lower than before. Debt has the ability to cripple life decisions and ruin relationships like almost nothing else. Therefore, when debt levels become truly unmanageable, it makes sense to explore debt consolidation as a potential solution. We hope the guidance provided above helps individuals from all walks of life make wise choices for their own financial futures.