So you’ve gotten yourself into a jam. This credit card was to cover that unexpected car repair. That credit card was to pay for Christmas. Oh and this credit card….well you’ve had a balance on it for eons so it doesn’t count. Now, you see (or hear) a commercial for that magical elixir called debt consolidation. No more piles of credit card statements in the mail. No more interest rates all over the map. No more multiple balances on multiple cards. And best of all… no more of all those different payments – just one! Sounds like a sweet deal, right? Guess again, bucko. Debt consolidation is a terrible idea and here’s why.
First of all, does Weight Watchers work over night? Do you just show up for the class and the next day you’re skinny? No, of course not. If I had to sum up Weight Watchers in one phrase it would be a lifestyle change. You are not going to be successful if you go for a “quick hit” to lose 10 lbs and then go back to your old eating habits. Debt consolidation ropes you in by tricking you into thinking “this is just what I need. A clean slate. A fresh start. One lender. One bill. Goodbye complicated life, hello simple one!” It sounds very similar to the feelings people get from filing bankruptcy. However, here’s the big question: What are the odds of you developing (or breaking) the bad habit of overspending in one fell swoop? Do you just wake up the next day and you’re cured? It’s not Nicorette gum for credit cards!
Now, let’s get a bit psychological about this. Why would a (supposed) financial company be able to help you cure your problem hundreds or thousands of miles away without ever seeing you face-to-face, teaching you good money habits or most importantly getting inside your head to fix your root problem – overspending! Your debt problems will not be cured by getting it down to one payment! Yes, they may lower the interest rates. Yes, they may get late fees waived. Yes, they may better at bullying the creditors better than you. But they won’t be getting inside your head to help you make a lifestyle change like Weight Watchers does.
A Lifestyle Change
It’s been said that to form a new habit (both good and bad) it takes approximately 21 days. That’s three weeks of exercising at 6am or reading pages from a good book daily or quitting smoking or controlling your sweet tooth daily or practicing disciplined financial habits or whatever your new habit you wish to form. A debt consolidator only helps with the debt, not the problems with the person in your mirror. Your problems with credit card debt will be gone when proper spending and saving habits have become part of your subconscious mind. You don’t even need to think NOT to buy that new, expensive electronic item at Circuit City.
Bottom line: attacking your debts, one by one, in snowball fashion, smallest to largest will accomplish far more psychologically than any debt consolidator who hasn’t even met you or seen you in person.