Debt consolidation is something that people turn to when they are unable to make their monthly payments on their unsecured debts. These debts include personal loans, credit cards, and anything else they owe money on that did not require collateral when the credit was extended. While this sounds great, there are some advantages and disadvantages that you must be aware of when you take out a debt consolidation loan. This is so that you can determine whether or not this is the right move for you to make.

The advantages

The advantages are quite obvious. If they weren't, so many individuals would not turn to debt consolidation as a way to get themselves out of debt. The advantages are:

- Instead of paying many monthly payments on your unsecured debt, you are only paying one payment per month.
- The interest rates are lower, but it is possible that the long-term debt may not be reduced.
- If you compare the amount of a debt consolidation loan payment and the amount of all of the individual payments that have been made each month, the debt consolidation loan payment is cheaper.
- There is only one creditor involved instead of multiple creditors.

These are fantastic advantages in that they make debt consolidation seem like a wonderful idea. However, it is also a good idea to be aware of the disadvantages because these can alter your decision regarding debt consolidation. Then again, they may not alter your decision at all.

The disadvantages

There is something to be known about debt consolidation loans. Although the debt that has been paid off by these loans are unsecured debts, the consolidation loan must be secured. This means that the loan is secured by an asset such as your home or a piece of property that is the same value as the loan. This means that defaulting on the loan could result in you losing that piece of property. If the asset is your home, then that means you will lose your home if you do not make your loan payments.

And although the interest rate is lower, the loan is for a longer term. Having a longer term loan means paying interest for a longer period of time. This can cost more money by the time it is all said and done. However, it also depends on how much your interest was on credit card debts. Sometimes, an individual can have a debt consolidation loan that could be paid off quicker than a credit card with a higher interest rate. It simply depends on your individual debt on whether or not it will actually cost you more in the long term.

There are, however, some disadvantages that you can avoid. Those disadvantages are:

- Closing your accounts after paying them off can hurt your credit score because the more unused credit you have, the better. This means keep them open.

- Many individuals feel that they can use their credit accounts after paying them off. This simply increases debt. Leave them open, but don't use them.

Are they for everyone?

The truth is that debt consolidation loans are not for everyone. People must take into consideration the debts they are paying off, their ability to pay the loan, and if they can afford to lose the property that they would put up as collateral on the loan. For some individuals, it may be the right move to make. For others it can be a huge mistake. That is why it is important to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages and see if you can deal with the disadvantages. If you can, then you are a candidate for a debt consolidation loan.