How to Pay Off Credit Card Debt Quickly

Christmas and holiday spending can be brutal on any household budget, considering most families significantly overspend during the holiday season. It is estimated that the average American household has more than $8000 in credit card debt. After all the fun and festivities are over, you should take control of your household budget and expenses. Unfortunately, one of the biggest yet most controllable expenses for most individuals or households is their revolving debt. The payments may not only handcuff your spending ability, but they can limit your financial options to purchase a car or house. In order to escape from the trap of credit card debt, you will need to determine the best way to pay down and eliminate your debt. The following is a list of suggestions on how to pay down your debt and improve your financial situation.

• Collect Your Information – Gather your last pay stub and all your latest credit card statements. Write down the name of the creditor, balance, interest rate, due date, and the minimum payment for each card. Then add up all the minimum payments for each account. Based on your disposable income after you pay your mortgage, utilities, and other necessities; do you have enough money left over each month to make the minimum credit card payments? Also, write down how much interest you are paying monthly and annually. This is the amount of money that is being wasted.

• Make a Plan – Once you have a basic budget that includes your income and debts, you can then decide if you want to consolidate your debt, start to reduce your debt by paying off the cards with the highest interest rates first, or start by paying off the cards with the lowest balances first. Choose a plan you can stick to, no one knows your financial situation better than you do.

• Consolidate Your Debt – Turn your revolving debt into a term loan. If you close your credit cards after consolidating them, you will no longer have the ability to add to your debt. Also, part of your payments will be reducing the principal balance of your debt, unlike minimum credit card payments that are usually just paying the interest on the outstanding balance. Therefore, you will be paying down your debt and the consolidation loan should be paid off within a certain number of years. If you are financially capable, it would benefit you to make more than the minimum payment, thereby reducing the principal balance on the debt faster. If you decide to consolidate your credit card debt, take the time to thoroughly compare your options and shop for an interest rate that is lower than your credit card interest rates. Also, set up an automatic payment arrangement for your consolidation loan. This will prevent you from falling behind in the payment and potentially facing penalties and/or a higher interest rate.

• Debt Settlement – This is the program that is an alternative to bankruptcy. When you go through your finances, if you find out that your monthly payments exceed your financial ability, you will need to seek alternative options, such as: working with a financial institution to consolidation your credit, discuss your options with a bankruptcy attorney, or talk to the credit card companies directly to reduce the principal balances owed on your debt.

• Stop Charging – Once you make your plan to pay off your debt, you will need to be committed to stop charging on your credit cards and creating new debt until your finances are under control. Your plan will not work unless you reduce your spending.

Taking control of your finances may create short-term hardships and limit your ability to purchase items over the next few years, such as: a new car, new house, or a vacation. Nevertheless, it is imperative that you control your spending, so you can improve your finances and get out of debt. Once your debt is paid off, you will have a significant increase in disposable income. In addition, you should have higher credit scores and a lower debt to income ratio; therefore in the future, you should qualify for preferential rates on auto and home loans.

Top Reasons to Get Out of Credit Card Debt

According to recent studies by the American Institute of CPAs, more than half of American adults (51%) say they delayed at least one important life decision, like having kids or retiring, because of financial reasons. In this article I will talk about the negative effects of credit card debt and I will go over debt relief options.

Lawsuits and Garnished Wages

There are more than one way that a credit card issuer can get their money, one of the most common being lawsuits. Very often they file a civil suit; If a creditor obtains a judgment against you they can place a lien on your assets to recover the money or even worse: garnish your wages by sending the required documentation to your employer, which is required to comply by law. A good way of preventing these problems is to seek help from a professional credit card debt settlement company.

It will make it harder to find a new job

If it wasn’t hard enough to find a job with all the competition out there, staying in debt can make it a bit more difficult for you. This is because employers in many states can check the credit reports of job applicants, and a record filled with late payments and court proceedings may not let you be seen as a reliable candidate. Employers are able to do this because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Companies must have your permission to view your credit reports.

However, this usually only affects people who are searching for a upper management financial position. The reason is because your potential employer may view you as a person who cannot make responsible financial decisions because of your own financial problems. Before applying, check any accounts that may have debt. If you see anything that may cost you from getting hired, quickly work on repairing the problem.

Mortgage, Rental and loan rejections

In addition to your debt issues, reports indicating nonpayment of credit card debt not only decrease your chances of securing a mortgage, you are also less attractive as a rental candidate, since in many cases landlords often check the applicant’s credit before agreeing to hand over the keys. Likewise, if you are trying to apply for a loan at the bank, by having active debt somewhere else your chances of getting approved for a loan are between probably not and absolutely not.

Your debt can increase

In some cases people find themselves in a tight situation financially and they may chose to default on one high-interest card to keep the lower-interest ones to make purchases. What many people are not aware of are the penalties that come with not paying and/or paying late.

The reason that strategy will not work is because many credit accounts have “universal default” clauses in their agreement, which state that if you’re more than 30 days late on any one account, they’re allowed to raise your interest rates based on the increased risk, hence increasing the debt balance.

Potentially losing a job promotion

Again, this only affects for people that are in line for a promotion to a position where they have to handle money, credit checks, or make financial decisions. If you believe you may receive a job promotion in the future make sure to settle any debt you have because it could keep you from getting promoted.

Debt Collectors

One of the things that major credit card companies do is that they often sell your delinquent credit card debt to debt collectors. Debt collectors buy the debt for a fraction of what you actually owe, they then try to collect the debt by getting you to make voluntary payments over the phone, internet or through the mail. The debt collector can also sue you in court just like the credit card company can. If a judgment is awarded to the debt collector, it too can garnish your wages.

How to Protect Your Wages From Credit Card Issuers

Wanting to pay a debt is great, but limiting your resources is not. Before making any decisions make sure that you are aware of the various debt relief programs available to you.

If you are in danger of having your wages garnished by a credit card company or debt collector and you know that you need this money to eat or pay other important bills such as medical bills, there are steps you can take to avoid garnishment of your paycheck.

Very often credit card companies are willing to accept a settlement in lieu of going through the courts to garnish your wages, this allows you to avoid a lawsuit and wage garnishment, you can negotiate a settlement of credit card debt with the bank or credit card issuer.

Settle the debt

Millions of American struggle under a load of high credit card debt, if you are having trouble paying your credit card bills or are worried about high credit card balances, don’t hide. Instead, learn what you can do to better manage your credit card debt, sometimes, with strict budgeting and strategically closing some credit card accounts, you can start paying off your debt.

If the balances are very high and the stress unbearable make sure to talk to a reputable debt settlement consultant. You will be surprised how one simple phone consultation can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

State exemptions

In some circumstances, states allow you to protect a portion of your wages, these are called exemptions. When you receive the wage garnishment notice, you need to find out if your state’s laws allow you protect a portion of your wages. If they do then you can file a document in state court claiming the exemption and the judge will decide whether it is valid or not.

File for bankruptcy

If you are really in over your head, bankruptcy might be your best option, bankruptcy immediately stops garnishment of your wages for a credit card debt, however, filing for bankruptcy affects many aspects of your life and should not be taken lightly. In many cases, you should not file solely to stop a garnishment.

The Bottom Line

It is important to point out that during the first three months of 2015, consumers paid down $34.7 billion in debt owed to credit card companies, that is about 7 percent above the average of the past two years, this means that people are educating themselves about all the possible solutions. There are many ways to fix your credit card debt problem, now it is just a matter of you choosing to make it happen.

Not All Debts Are Bad

“They are the same thing – loaning money I don’t have – I’d rather not risk my lifestyle having a debt!”

The best way to define a “bad” debt, is when you borrow/ leverage money to purchase something that generates a loss (also known as a liability). A good example of this is a car, flat screen TV or a doodad, simply because they depreciates in value. The best way to define a “good” debt, is when you borrow/ leverage money to purchase something that generates profit (also known as an asset). A good example of this is an investment property.

Most people generally tend to have more bad debt than good, such as;

– Credit cards
– Car loan
– Personal loan
– Holiday finance
– White goods finance

Sounds familiar doesn’t it! Don’t get us wrong, it’s not an offence or anything, but keep this in mind – by decreasing these debts, you are more likely to steer yourself in the right path of financial success.

On the other hand, some people think having a debt is a taboo/ sin/ whatever they want to call it – so they don’t believe in buying a property until they have earned their money to pay their house in cash. That can do – it’s just going to take them longer that’s all. Yes, debt is a risk, it is leveraging the bank, and you may not be able to repay that if you quit/ lose your job.

That’s why without a doubt, you must budget. Manage your finances as early as possible. Good debts are risks worth taking, so you can generate more income. If you don’t take the risk, you won’t know what you can achieve.

Likewise, bad debts are risks too. Having them might be inevitable but sometimes you can prevent it! A simple formula to avoid bad debt is: if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

If you decrease your “bad” debts the banks are actually more likely to provide you with “good” debts such as home loans, which if you use correctly, will grow your wealth.

TIP: Chat with a mortgage broker about your ability to leverage “good” debt. They should let you know if your level of “bad” debt is acceptable to the banks or not, and how to get rid of these as soon as possible.