If you prefer, you could call this “simplification” instead of consolidation.
Refinancing is when you replace a loan (or multiple loans) with a completely new loan – ideally a much better loan.
Again, it’s possible to stretch out your repayment over future years – every time you refinance, you start the repayment process over – but that can cost you over the long term.To see how this works, get familiar with loan amortization (which is the process of paying down loans).Refinancing can help you simplify, but it’s really about saving money.If you can get a lower interest rate (or some other advantage), you’ll be in a better position.Two of the most common options include debt consolidation and refinancing.
You might need to do one or both of those, so get familiar with what they do (and don’t do) for you.
For some, those benefits aren’t helpful, but you never know what the future brings, and features like deferment and income-based repayment might come in handy someday.
Private loan consolidation is only an option if you refinance your debt.
In the private market, lenders might be willing to compete for your loans, and you can get a good deal if you have good credit.
Since credit scores change over time, you might be able to do better now if you’ve been making payments on time for several years.
If you have federal student loans, evaluate the pros and cons carefully – especially if you’re tempted to switch to a private student loan.