Credit card debt is an issue for some especially after holiday shopping so the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) has come up with some ways people can reduce debt, which includes everything from lowering interest rates to paying off the card that costs you the most.
They point to data from Magnify Money, showing that 125 million consumers have some kind of credit card debt they are dealing with, with the total amount hitting $527 billion in the United States.
“With unemployment on the decline and credit card interest rates on the rise, now is the right time to get rid of credit card debt once and for all,” says Geoffrey Brown, CEO of NAPFA.
“For a financial advisor, one of the first steps in working with a new client is tackling unnecessary debt to free up money for savings. These tips from our advisors are a good blueprint for anyone who is looking to live debt free in 2018,” he said.
Getting out of the red
First things first they suggest getting started by getting a handle on debt by taking a look at any payments that have been automated with an eye on getting rid of them. Also, while it may hurt putting vacations and holiday spending on the back burner for a year may help pay down debt quicker.
What about credit cards with high-interest rates? They suggest people take a look at all their credit cards in terms of interest rates and minimum payments. Once that is done they can check in with their credit card company to see if they will lower their interest rate or waive late payments, both of which could save money.
Going hand in hand with checking on interest rates, is making sure that you pay the minimum on all your cards while putting more down on the one with the highest interest rate. When it’s paid off, start again with the next card with a high-interest rate–and repeat until all your credit card debt is gone.
Budgets and goals
There next two tips have to do with budgets and setting goals. They point out that a written budget will help keep debt out of people’s financial equation and help build up an emergency fund that will come in handy when there is a crisis.
What are your goals for the long-term? Whatever they are, making a list of both short-term and long-term goals can help make them a reality.