Poor credit requires you to explain how you came to be in arrears and, just as importantly, why things are going to be different now. You see both the banks and the loan companies understand that from time to time anyone can fall on hard times. That's especially true with the current economic situation. Many new investors wrongly assume that all their money will go directly into buying the investment they have chosen and forget that there are different prices for buying and selling stocks. This can be quite a surprise to some but they should remember that even mutual funds have annual charges. However if they consider all these things they will soon have their answer to the question of what is the first step to investing. You also need to explain what has changed now and how you will be able to meet the new payments. Try not to be over optimistic here. And for goodness sake tell them the truth, if you don't they will almost certainly find out and you'll fail. They're trained to spot lying by applicants. The secret to success is having a good, well-though out reason why they should grant you a bad debt consolidation loan. Well in some cases that is very true but every case is different and you have to do you own checking to make sure you will be better off. It is important to remember that you are taking the existing balances of your bills and spreading them over the term of the new loan. Obviously you need to sit down with pen and paper and work out just how much that will add up to in interest. They introduced things such as traded options, short selling, unit trusts and even debt-equity swaps which were revolutionary at the time. After the early success of those Dutch pioneers other countries soon began to see how they could copy this new trading model. Perhaps the most successful were the English with the London Stock Exchange. Of course this is the age of the internet so as an alternative to books you can search for financial and stock market terminology online. The important thing to bear in mind with this is that you should only use reputable and trusted sources. Remember that the 'net is unregulated and anyone can put up a site without bothering to check their facts.