Personal loans might seem like a knight-in-shining-financial-armor for those struggling to vanquish stubborn consumer credit card debt. But for many, personal loans are actually heartbreakingly counterproductive.
3 Reasons Personal Loans Won’t Resolve Your Credit Card Debt Issues
Here are three reasons why you may want to rethink paying off your credit card debt with a personal loan.
High Monthly Payments
Minimum monthly payments for most credit cards are manageable because they are literally the legal minimum amount required to keep the account open.
Issuing banks are amenable to you continuing to pay the minimum, year after year, if necessary.
Personal loans, on the other hand, carry a three or five-year term.
If you are willing and able to aggressively pay off your debts, a short-term loan can be an advantage.
However, if you are already struggling to make your current monthly payments, or if you have a high credit card balance, you might find yourself stretched to the limit.
For example, if you moved $12,000 in debt to a three-year personal loan with a 12.00 percent APR, your monthly payment would be almost $400.
If your budget is already tight and you have no plans to attack your debt by earning additional income on the side, you could end up back in the unhelpful plastic-arms of your credit cards.
It’s understandable to want to pay off your credit card debt with a personal loan.
Seeing a zero balance on an account that you’ve been struggling with can feel empowering. But use caution because the hard work of actually eliminating the debt has yet to be done.
Getting a personal loan to pay off credit card debt is like taking everything out of a packed closet and stuffing those items into boxes. You have not reduced the total number of items you have – your things merely moved to a different place.
Unlike those who use credit counseling services to pay off their debt, there is no requirement to close your credit card accounts when obtaining a personal loan. So, if you have an overspending problem, you might be flirting with disaster.
Unless that is, you intend on closing your cards upon receiving your loan and spend cash only until the loan is paid off.
It can take Herculean amounts of self-awareness, to be honest with yourself about the degree to which you are at risk of running your balances back up. In this way, taking out a personal loan for credit card debt adds a layer of difficulty that most people would do well to avoid.
Habits and Attitudes
Taking out a personal loan to pay off your credit card debt does not address the root problem of why you got into debt in the first place; it merely treats a symptom. The real causes are those spending habits and personal finance attitudes that allowed the debt to grow so large in the first place.
Deep down, most people probably already know what to do to address their debt: spend less and earn more. But, it’s far easier said than done, because everyone carries with them individualized perceptions about money and finance that erect barriers to taking action.
Addressing those barriers and invisible scripts is such a personal process that it sometimes takes a drastic event to get any attention.
What you should do instead:
Create a spending and repayment plan.
Even if you don’t see a way out of debt on your own, you’ll get a better picture of what your needs are, what your habits have been, and what options you should consider.
Consider credit counseling.
Call DebtWave at 888-686-4040.
Talk to family and friends.
If this is too difficult, join an online community of people facing similar situations, or read personal finance blogs and books. Feeling less alone can do wonders for you as you address your own money issues.
Consider a balance transfer to a zero-interest credit card.
Note that this option will result in paying fees, typically anywhere from 3-5 percent of the balance. Also, if you do not pay off your balance by the time the promotional rate ends, you will be subject to higher than ideal interest rates once again.
There are many options to consider when consolidating your credit card debt. The most important thing is to take action as soon as possible. Your future debt-free self will thank you.
Are you considering a personal loan to consolidate your credit card debt? Let us know in the comments.