Debt-consolidation refi has advantages

Lose high interest rates, gain better tax deductions

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DEAR BENNY: With mortgage loan rates at record lows, I'm thinking of refinancing my 30-year fixed-rate loan. The lender is recommending that I roll into the refi amount the balances I owe on my car and two credit cards. The advantages would be that they'd be "paid off," the interest rate on the amounts would be lower than I'm currently paying on any of them, and the interest paid would be tax-deductible. But I see a big disadvantage, too. The total of the amounts on those five-year (on which I still have three years to pay) and revolving loans would now be amortized over 30 years! Does it make sense to do that? How can I figure out if it's a smart move or not? --Janet DEAR JANET: I think it's a good idea, but only you -- and your pocketbook -- can make the final decision. The interest you pay on your car loan and on your credit cards is not deductible for income tax purposes. So your lender is offering you a deal whereby you pay less and at the same time have t...