The burden of unmanageable levels of debt is something that nobody ever wants to face, but far too many people do. Debt consolidation can be a useful solution, provided that it is done in smart, deliberate manner. The piece below offers lots of helpful tips for ensuring that you make the best decisions for you and your family. Let your close friends and your relatives know you are in debt. Perhaps they can lend you some money or give you some useful advice on how to get out of debt. You should not hide this fact from friends and family members you can trust since their support will make a difference. Find out which debts you have that will not be covered in debt consolidation. While most debts can be consolidated, there are a few that cannot, such as some student loans. You need to make sure that you know what will be covered and what will not, before you sign up. Figure out whether you will be able to afford thte debt consolidation payment every month. Now, if you have been having money problems, you do not have a lot of extra money. You need to make sure you are going to be able to come up will the payments you need every month in order for debt consolidation to work. When considering debt consolidation, start with your local lending institution. They will be familiar with your credit history, work history and financial standing. This information can help to streamline your application process, making it easier for you to get accepted into a low interest debt consolidation plan as quickly as possible. Make sure you know how much a debt consolidation company is going to cost you. Have a discussion about their fees. Make sure you know your rights as well. The company cannot charge you any money until they actually do some work first. Discuss the payment schedule with them and move on if you hear anything you do not like from them. After you've consolidated your debt, consider what credit cards you don't need. Remember what got you here in the first place. Do you need all of that credit? Do you feel the itch to use it? Don't fall back into bad habits. Get rid of any cards that are unnecessary. Find out whether a company pays its counselors by commission. This is tremendously important for you, since a counselor working on commission may not have your best interests at heart. Make sure you avoid commission-paying companies, and instead opt for those that treat their employees well and pay them a salary. Personalization should be used by debt consolidation companies. They should design a consolidation and debt reduction program geared towards your individual needs. Your debt counselor should develop a personalized solution for you. Find out about the privacy policy. Know how the information you give the company is going to be stored. Ask if their computers use encryption. The more secure the system, the less chance your identity will get stolen. Think carefully before signing up with a debt consolidation company. You may be in a state of panic or worry about your financial situation, and you may be acting in a rushed or desperate manner. Think carefully about what matters for you in the long run, and make choices accordingly. When working on a debt management plan during debt consolidation, you need to make sure that you bring all of your accounts current. Aging debt needs to be wrapped up into any current debt. If you have any old student loans or debt that is over 4 years old without a payment, get it all consolidated into the new plan. Get copies of your credit report before you talk to a debt consolidation company. That way, you will be able to talk knowledgeably about what debts you have at any given moment. When a debt consolidation representative has the chance to really know what you are dealing with, they can offer you a more specific solution sooner. Extreme amounts of debt plague an unfortunate number of individuals, many of whom feel there is no hope for ever climbing out of the situation. However, when done wisely, debt consolidation offers a way out. Hopefully the information presented above has given you the tools you need to move forward with confidence.