The air waves are full of companies talking about debt relief. But is it a good idea? When it comes to your money, it is important to understand how debt relief options work and what you stand to gain or lose when it is all said and done. Keep in mind that for profit companies have to make money and that is their goal and they may not always have the best interest of the customer in mind.

Most importantly, know what you are getting into. Debt consolidation does not necessarily always mean there will be a loan involved. Credit counseling is many times referred to as debt consolidation, but there is no loan. You make one consolidated payment each month to the credit counseling company and they take care of paying your lenders with that payment.

Now, a debt relief loan in most cases is secured with your home. Here is the problem. If you do not make your payments, the lender has the right to foreclose on your home. However, if you have credit card debt and no debt consolidation loan, the worst thing that can happen is you can be sued by your credit card company.

Here is the real kicker. Many people that consolidate their debts with a debt consolidation loan will have credit card debt again within a year. The best thing you can do if you are considering debt consolidation is to consult a nonprofit credit counseling agency. Being nonprofit, they are more likely to keep your best interests in mind. They have nothing to lose or gain by being truthful. If you have debt, take the time to talk to a debt counselor before making any decisions about your finances.