Individuals often accumulate debt in small increments. After a few years, a dizzying array of small debts exists. Taken collectively, the debt would be manageable, but separated into dozens or more of small individual accounts, the debt is bewildering. This situation is often solved at a single stroke through consumer debt consolidation. The individual sums all the individual debts and finds he owes a total of $8,700; he takes out a loan from a bank for that amount and uses the loan monies to pay off all the small creditors, leaving him with only a single monthly payment to a single creditor. Consumer debt consolidation is one of the most-popular debt management practices, but it is also problematic. Numerous studies have demonstrated that nearly everyone who uses consumer debt consolidation rapidly accumulates new, small debts. Thus, consumer debt consolidation is a useful tool, but must be approached carefully.