Extra Credit - What Really Burns A Hole In Your Pocket
With the unemployment rate dipping to 3.6% in April and other positive economic indicators, it's a great time to review your debt and spending. And doing so, it can help protect you when personal and national economic shifts occur. There's no downside to limiting debt or eliminating it entirely. And it can be done.
Consider viewing your financial picture in a different light:
- Buying on credit is borrowing against future income.
- Unless you pay off credit accounts each month, you’re paying more for everything you use them to buy.
- If you’re not asking yourself whether or not you can afford things before you buy them, you’re probably avoiding the answer.
- Financial stress is linked to relationship strife, health issues and decreased workplace performance.
- Extensive debt can lower your credit score: 30% of your Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) score is based on the amount of debt you owe.
Working to improve your current and future financial situation doesn’t have to be a complicated process full of self-scolding and deprivation. In fact, the kinder and simpler, the better.
• Take some time to review your own situation: Has your personal debt gone up over the last few years? Have new or large expenditures been made by choice or necessity?
• Is there any service, subscription or other expense that you can dial back - or live without? Look for recurring charges - however small - and cancel everything you don't need.
• Call credit card companies you do business with and ask them if they will reduce your interest rate.
• Look at your non-housing debt and find out if you can roll any of it over, using a low or zero-interest offer. But be careful and deliberate; those offers are limited to specific time periods after which interest (often high) will be charged if the balance isn't paid off.
Stop debt from running rampant in your personal finances. Drop waste wherever possible and roll back the tide of compound interest by seeking lower rates. Taking a proactive approach to what you spend - and why - will keep your financial future from going up in flames!
Center for Microeconomic Data – Federal Reserve Bank of New York, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics