paying today what you could pay off tomorrow, and you will inevitably owe exponentially more.Most lenders, of course, will never illustrate that philosophy. Consolidation companies' incomelargely comes from just this sort of accumulation of interest payments, and they generally try toappeal to borrowers' (oft delusional) beliefs that they will immediately quit the spending reflexes ofa lifetime and devote themselves to patterns of saving that would allow them to repay their loanthat much earlier by paying over the minimums. Don't be fooled by easy flattery and pie in the skyspeeches about a sudden change of habits. Most every consolidation professional will attempt toinsist that, all of a sudden, you will pay more than the minimum obligation. Know yourself and yourbuying habits. If you have not been able to restrain spending in the past, there's no reason tobelieve that a sense of responsibility will suddenly come your way absent any effort, and,depending on the program, the sudden availability of open credit accounts could just make thingsworse. At the same time, though we would certainly advise borrowers to do everything they could to paydown their debts regardless of what the minimum payments are fixed at, one also has to makesure that they do not begin a similarly obsessive strategy of earmarking every dollar earnedtoward repaying past debts. Much as you would reasonably hope to devote all available fundstoward debt elimination, the smart borrower yet maintains a cash reserve to guard against everybad patch. For those loans attached to collateral (equity loans, particularly), it should be of thegreatest importance to ensure breathing room. Real estate values have become so tenuous of latethat no home owner who cares about their investment (or, more to the point, their family) shoulddare risk their precious equity for a quick fix, and debt consolidation in the wrong scenario couldactually back fire against the consumer. Considering that the financial obligations likely cameabout through reckless spending, consumers must be very careful not to over indulge their newdesire for a clean slate. Loan officers, in particular, are at fault for convincing their clients about thefuture health of an uncertain property market or evading the depressing but pertinent details aboutforeclosure and the danger of equity loan consolidation. However the mortgage industry attemptsto weather the storm partially caused by predatory lenders acting in their own best interests, theeffects of the loans that they pushed upon unwary borrowers continue to bother the nationaleconomy. One should never entirely trust the lenders, after all. Credit card companies and mortgage loancompanies depend upon the borrowers' willingness to sustain payments and extend them foryears if not decades. In fact, lenders list each client's balance as a bankable asset to be sold ortraded to other lenders (or, ironically, used as collateral for their own loans). Whatever the lenders'literature or representatives may say about helping borrowers minimize their debt load with an eyetoward eventual debt elimination, their business model explicitly demands a continual revolvingdebt cycle that forces debtors into a life of servitude, ever subsidizing their financial burdenswithout actually getting rid of them. We are not necessarily suggesting that you close all cardsafter consolidation - though, with some programs, that will be necessary - because of the effectthat would have towards your credit rating. The ever powerful FICO score likes to see someaccounts open to demonstrate that you still maintain some credit viability, and, with all accountsclosed, you would be starting again from scratch with no current credit history to draw upon.Ideally, you would maintain one or two of the oldest accounts or the accounts with the largestavailable balances (interest rates should also be part of this discussion), but it is of sacrosanctimportance that these accounts not be used regardless of how much you may wish to resumepurchasing. For convenience's sake, it might be useful to take out a bank card for ordinaryspending but only one that has debit purposes without overdraft potential.