Consolidation can mean many different things. In the world of warfare, it may mean mustering your forces into one powerful mass before charging headlong in an effort to dislodge the enemy from a strategic position.
In the world of student debt, it means simplifying your multiple debts into a single debt with a single rate, term, monthly payment.
But these two uses of “consolidate” may have something in common after all: both can be key moves in winning a victory and both require careful planning in light of your situation before making the final decision.
Here are 6 factors to take into account to help you decide if student loan consolidation is right for you:
1. How Complex Is Your Student Debt at Present?
If your debts are too many, from multiple lenders, and have widely varying rates, terms, and due dates, they may be too much stress and effort to manage. It’s rather common for people with student debt to deal with up to a dozen lending institutions – up to a dozen payments – up to a dozen due-dates every month. When you consolidate, you only have to deal with one lending institution – one payment – one due-date every month. Consolidation will bring simplicity, which means easy “manageability.” That’s a huge plus in favor of making your many debts one.
2. Can You Get a Rate Reduction by Consolidating?
According to consolidatestudent.loan, you can often get an interest rate reduction as part of your overall debt consolidation package. You will need to pull out your loan consolidation calculator to find out, but if the average of your current loans’ rates is more than your consolidated single rate would be, consolidation could be a great option.
3. Do You Have Variable Rates on any of Your Loans?
Normally, you can get a fixed interest rate for your consolidated student loan. Some or all of your current loans, on the other hand, may have variable interest rates. Rather than risk an interest spike in the years ahead, it might be wise to move to a single, low fixed rate now.
4. Will You Lower Your Payments and Get More Time to Pay?
Oftentimes, it’s a matter of your monthly payment amounts being too high for you to handle without squelching your other financial needs. If you can lower dollar-amount due each month and get 5 to 10 years more to pay off the loan, it might be worth it even if that means paying a bit more total interest by loan’s end.
5. Will You Eliminate Delinquency?
If you are in an immediate quandary of being unable to get out of delinquency, consolidation will take care of that for you. And, if your payments are set up right, you may find it far easier to make your payment on time in the future. Being delinquent for years on end can hurt your credit rating while making on-time payments will help it, so consider this a very important factor.
6. Will You Lose any Valuable “Perks?”
Some student loan lenders will allow you to get interest rate deductions for automating payments or for making all payments on time, and you may be able to deduct interest paid on student loans from your taxes.
Student debt consolidation will not only simplify your repayments but it could also save you money which is highly desirable given the fact that there are 44 million borrowers who owe $1.4 trillion in student loan debt in 2017.
If lose any or all of these extras, the question is, “Do other gains from consolidation outweigh such losses?” Often they will, but you have to research and not just assume.