After she left her corporate job to start a coaching business, Christy Whitman rang up $90,000 in credit card debt. “Paying it off seemed impossible, given that I was only making $60,000 a year as a brand new coach,” said Whitman. To make the task more manageable, she took out a loan to consolidate her debt.
“The moment I consolidated all of my credit card debt into one monthly payment, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Whitman. With that, her enthusiasm for her new venture reignited and she was able to pay off the full $90,000 in a little over two years. Whitman later became a widely known transformational leader and bestselling author of “The Art of Having It All.”
The power of personal loans for debt consolidation
Many consumers have transformed their financial lives with personal loans. Specifically, they’ve been able to consolidate high-interest credit card debt into one set regular monthly payment with a fixed interest rate and repayment term.
“Having one large loan payment as opposed to multiple credit card payments will make your finances more manageable,” said Katie Ross, manager of education and development and housing for America Consumer Credit Counseling, a nonprofit member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in Newton, Massachusetts. “The fixed interest rate will also reduce the duration you spend paying your debt.”
A lower interest rate also means more of each payment will be going toward principal. With more going toward principal and less toward interest, you’ll be able to pay down credit card balances sooner. In fact, 89% of surveyed debt consolidation customers told us they paid off existing debt sooner with a Discover® personal loan and the majority of them reported that they paid it off an average of 2 years earlier.*
A debt payoff plan that works
An advantage of consolidating credit card debts into a personal loan is the defined end date for your loan. While the payment may be larger than the minimum balance on credit card accounts, you can rest assured that if you pay it every month for a preset number of months, the balance will dwindle to zero. That’s something to look forward to.
“This establishes commitment and a process for getting rid of it,” said Scott Stratton, a certified financial planner in Dallas. “Whereas if you just send in a minimum each month, you’ll be paying for it forever.”
Minimum required monthly payments on credit cards may be as little as 1% or 2% of the balance, Stratton said. “When you’re paying 20 percent interest or more on that, you’re not even treading water.”
Having one set regular monthly payment also makes it easier to budget because you know exactly how much you’ll pay toward your loan every month.
The limits of debt consolidation
Consolidating higher-interest debt into a personal loan can be extraordinarily helpful to consumers carrying higher-interest credit card debt.
But you can’t create good financial health in a vacuum.
If you have too much debt, or the wrong kind of debt, you may need two steps to shore up your credit health. Step one, reducing your higher-interest debt. And step two, a plan to avoid getting back into debt.
The bottom line
Using a personal loan for debt consolidation doesn’t eliminate the risk of getting into debt with higher-interest credit cards again. But it can be a useful part of an overall plan for managing debt and maintaining good personal financial health.
Our debt consolidation calculator can estimate how much you might save in interest with a personal loan. Just enter a few details to learn more.Estimate Savings