Across America debt is becoming a massive problem. In fact approximately 80% of Americans are in debt according to fool.com1. That percentage shows that you are not alone in your struggles. There is one piece of information that research does not show. It fails to show how many are able to manage that debt and pay their monthly payments on time.
Debt can be very daunting and reasons can range from job loss to a death in the family and everything in between. The government and debt collectors will not care however when it comes to late payments. Not be able to manage your debt can destroy your credit or even worse, divorce can be a horrible outcome caused by financial troubles.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel however! Debt is manageable and here are some easy steps you can take to start managing your debt today!
1. Find The Facts:
In order to get a hold of this problem that feels like you are spiraling out of control, you need to discover how much debt you actually have. Many websites online allow you to check your credit score for free. Just remember if you check your own credit score it is considered a soft hit and does NOT affect your credit score. If a bank or loan agent checks your credit score, it is considered a hard hit and WILL affect your credit score.
Pro Tip: When shopping for a mortgage, Loan, Credit Card etc, you can “shop around” within a “14 day span” and it will only be counted as One Inquiry!2
Going to websites like mybankrate.com, creditkarma.com, myfreecreditreport.com are all safe websites to check your credit score for free. Checking your credit score will show you exactly how much you owe on your loans, to creditors, credit cards, student loans etc. I personally use mybankrate.com when helping people fix their credit score and it is quite easy to navigate.
-Find out more why it's important to manage your credit!
2. How Much Do You Owe?
Once you look up your credit report, you need to add up all your debt. Just remember to add what you owe on loans, credit cards and also creditors. Remember creditors charge interest, so what you see on your credit report may have gone up since then. Don’t stop there! There are thing you can do to fix this!
3. So Much Money, Who Do I Pay First?
You first need to prioritize what is important to pay off first. You want to pay off any creditors first because that is killing your credit BUT don’t neglect the accounts you are paying on time. Next would be credit cards because their interest rates are usually around 25%! Vs a loan which can be closer to 1-12% depending on your credit score. The last thing you want to throw EXRTA money towards is your loans. You do however want to continue paying them on time.
4. But What If I Don’t Have Enough?
If you owe more in payments than what you can afford, you need to hurry to take control. A really easy and quite common thing to do is combine all of your debts into one loan! Just by reducing the interest rates on your credit cards and the crazy rates that creditors charge can save you THOUSANDS! This is called a Consolidation Loan and many times you can call and get rates right over the phone.
Also you should be thinking about downsizing. If you have 3 cars for example, can you sell one and save on the insurance and DMV payments etc? Most people can find some savings somewhere in their budget, the most common being their food bill. You will be surprised how much eating out can cost!
5. Lets Fix This!
Two things to be aware of is a prepayment penalty and the 14 days you have to shop around. When getting any loan make sure there is no prepayment penalty which will allow you to pay off the loan early without a fee. Just keep in mind the loans your already have may have a prepayment fee. On bankrate, there are phone numbers you can call for your loan specifically to find this out. Also just remember once you have done your homework, make sure you pick who you are going to do a loan through within the 14 days, from when you started shopping around. The Biggest thing you can start doing is start being accountable for where your money goes. Many times a Wife, Husband or even a friend can keep you in line and make sure you don’t have any late night spending urges on Amazon.
I believe in you, and know you can do it. The first couple steps are easy and you can start it right now for FREE. So what are you waiting for? Go out there and start making yourself better today!
Remember if you ever have any questions feel free to contact me at any time, or if you have a topic you want covered just let me know!