Should I Go With a Debt Consolidator Even Though Dave Ramsey Says Not To?

Question:

Dear Steve,

I’m 13,000 in credit card debt. The rates range from 18-21% apr. I need to look for work by June because my other job will soon be ending. I’m able to meet the minimum payments but the interest fees are so high that I’m afraid I’ll be stuck paying for the rest of my life.

I want to hire a debt consolidator. Dave Ramsey advises against doing this, but aren’t there some companies that are helpful like Trinity.org or Crown Financial?

LAGal

Answer:

Dear LAGal,

This isn’t really anything more than a math problem. I don’t give a crap what Dave Ramsey has to say about what you should not do. Let’s see what the math says.

Let’s look at the overall picture here.

It appears you are not able to save money and may not have an emergency fund to fall back on since you are just limping along.

Your monthly income/expenses are pretty tight if $13,000 is creating a hardship. If it is not creating a hardship then pay more each month and also make sure you are saving at the same time.

A long-term repayment plan may leave you at higher financial risk considering the inability to save and how a big surprise expense can sink the plan. Look at my calculator to determine how much a payment plan can cost you in lost retirement savings.

There are some major approaches to dealing with your debt. I would advise you look at my online calculator to compare each one.

To address the issue you need to decide if your focus is to try and repair the past or repair the future. If you want to do better moving forward, get some savings under you, and be less at risk for default then I would suggest some solution that would either eliminate your debt entirely, like bankruptcy or consider debt settlement if you are not worried about your credit.

Here are some past articles that will help you to see this in a new way. Read this, this, and this.

Steve Rhode
Get Out of Debt GuyTwitter, G+, Facebook

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This article by Steve Rhode first appeared on Get Out of Debt Guy and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.