I've heard it said that debt is not the problem but rather the symptom. Overspending and under-saving is usually the real problem. I'm convinced that debt consolidation can work, but it must be accompanied with a mindset change. Sure you can find a company willing to give you one big loan that will pay off all your smaller high interest rate loans, but can you make that one payment? Have you changed your spending habits? Are you actually saving some money now for the "inevitable emergency?"
Debt consolidation can seem appealing because there is a lower interest rate on some of your debt, thus a lower payment. You have to watch out for the old "shell game" that many consolidation companies play. Often instead of giving you a lower consolidated rate, many companies just extend the time you have to repay the debt. This method does give you a lower payment, but ultimately keeps you in debt much longer.
The truth is debt consolidation can work if the plan is right, if you are educated about your options and determined to change your money mindset. If none of these things are altered, you are basically throwing your hands up to say, "I can't handle my responsibility, so I give it to you to place a band-aid on my gaping wound in hopes that it will stop the bleeding." Change your mind, change your life.
Look for Clyde Anderson's Home School segments in the 7am ET hour of CNN Saturday Morning with TJ Holmes.