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Solid Steps to Tackle Debts

By Michele Harris
November 29, 2023
senior couple going through paperwork

If you have more debt than you're comfortable with, don't worry! There are a variety of options available that can make your situation more manageable and give you peace of mind.

Begin by reviewing your expenses and creating a budget--the last thing you want to do is increase your debt while simultaneously trying to pay it down. Analyze your monthly spending and identify areas where you might be able to cut back. 

Balance transfers

One of the most effective ways to tackle debt, especially credit card debt, is through balance transfer credit card offers. These offers have a relatively low-interest rate for a specified period. 

Once the time is up, your interest rate will increase significantly, so be sure you can repay the entire balance transferred before the end of the loan's term. Refrain from making new charges with that credit card while you pay off the balance transferred.

Debt consolidation

You could also consider a debt consolidation loan, which rolls all your unsecured debt into one loan with a manageable interest rate over a fixed term (typically three to five years). 

Unsecured debt includes things like medical bills and credit card debt. Secured debt refers to a mortgage or car loan--things creditors can take possession of if payments aren't made. 

You must qualify for a debt consolidation loan, so your interest rate will be based on your credit score. Compare loan terms, interest rates, and origination fees to determine the best debt consolidation loan for you. It's much easier to pay one creditor rather than a few, and it's gratifying to see your balance go down with each payment!

Note that it's always wise to consult a trusted financial advisor before you finalize a loan.

Contact your creditors

If you're facing a temporary financial setback, contact your creditors directly. Sometimes, a creditor will lower your interest rate, extend the time you have to repay the debt, or--on rare occasions--forgive a portion of your debt entirely. Speaking with your creditors honestly will not negatively impact the terms of your debt repayment or increase your interest rate.

With the right mindset and a willingness to take action, you can be debt-free. Remember, every journey starts with a first step.