This article takes a look at the pros and cons of debt management in terms of three topics close to any borrower’s heart: saving money, reducing stress levels and protecting credit rating.
Topic #1: Saving money
Pros: Monthly payments lowered. Interest frozen. Charges waived. The better their relationship with creditors, the better a debt management company’s chances of successfully negotiating for one or more of these concessions. This can save the client a considerable amount of money – not just every month, but potentially over the course of the debt management plan as well.
Cons: Lowering monthly payments means debts take longer to pay back. If interest hasn’t been frozen, they’ll also accumulate interest for longer, adding to the long-term cost. Plus, there’s no guarantee creditors will agree to any concessions, or that they’ll save the client more in the long run than the debt management company charges in fees. And since a debt management plan is an informal agreement, they’re free to change their minds.
Topic #2: Reducing stress levels
Pros: Some people don’t have the time to deal with complicated finances, or don’t feel confident about doing so. For them, it’s a huge relief to hand their debts over to someone else, who might handle everything from letters and phone calls to negotiations and payment distribution. And some people admit they’re no good at juggling numbers and negotiating deals, so it makes sense to let a professional talk to creditors and propose a repayment plan that leaves them enough money for essential bills and other expenses.
Cons: Not everyone feels like this. Many people would rather keep their finger on the pulse personally, so the thought of adding an intermediary just adds more complexity to an already-complicated matter. In short, they feel less stressed when they know they’re handling it themselves.
Topic #3: Protecting credit rating
Pros: By making new arrangements with creditors, a debt management company can minimize the impact of debt on someone’s credit rating, keeping debt problems from escalating into CCJs (County Court Judgments) or even bankruptcy. Plus, even though debt management addresses unsecured debts, it frees up money for secured debts such as mortgage payments, so people can avoid getting into arrears – or even being evicted.
Cons: When they agree to reduced payment terms, creditors may register a default (if they haven’t done so already) and this will appear on the borrower’s credit report, potentially making it harder and more expensive to get credit.
Debt management isn’t for everyone. Some people don’t like the idea of delegating their financial affairs like this.