Ask Terry Questions Credit Card Debt

Credit Card Debt

By Terry Savage on August 29, 2019 | Credit/Debt

My husband and I have accumulated credit card debt of $15,000 on various cards, ranging from rates of 16%-23%. Some is old debt that I had been working on but then our 2 children were married this summer within one month of each other. Even though they each helped to pay, we accumulated more debt. I have been receiving many letters from SoFi, Lending Tree, etc. Are these wise strategies to help with the debt. If so, which do you recommend?

Terry Says

A lot depends on your personal situation.  If you have income and can make at least the minimum monthly payments to keep your credit score in good standing, then you might want to do a balance transfer to a card with an interest-free grace period. Search for the best balance transfer cards.  Then, in the meantime, you need to accelerate paying down the other cards, in a formula that I’ll show you below.   But beware, because the rate at the end of the one-year no=interest period can rise even higher than the cards you currently have.  And you need to “keep” some older cards to demonstrate length of credit history.

I don’t know what kind of “deal” SoFi and Lending Tree are offering. But beware of “credit card consolidation or debt negotiation” schemes. All too often they advise stopping payments to build up a fund, which they can use to negotiate a “payoff” at a lower amount.  But this really ruins your credit for a long time.

Here’s the formula for the real way to get out of credit card debt:

  1. Take the CURRENT minimum monthly payment and DOUBLE it.  Write that amount on a post-it note on your computer screen. Do this for each card.  Then pay that same amount every month. (not double the next month’s minimum, but the same amount you pay this month!)
  2. Do not charge another penny on the card.
  3. The balance will be paid off in less than 3 years — vs the nearly 30 years it would otherwise take, saving a fortune in interest —

Yes, this takes a lot of “extra” money every month — but it’s worth it. Maybe you have to cut back somewhere, maybe a weekend job or extra hours at work.  You CAN do it– and you’ll come out with good credit and a huge sigh of relief.



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