I’m writing some stories for a site called Successiblelife.com that focuses on health issues. I’ve long believed there are a lot of parallels between healthy eating and “healthy” money habits. Both require you to make decisions involving trade offs between today and tomorrow. Do I eat this cookie now and complain about my weight later? Should I buy this expensive outfit today or buy a home tomorrow? How will Future You feel about Today You? Sometimes, the cookie is worth it! Ok, a lot of the time. Still, life is a constant set of decisions, all have a benefit and a cost. Studies show that people who are better at imagining these hypothetical conversations with their future selves tend to make better choices in the present.
So I’m glad to be kicking in some money stories at SuccesibleLife.com. I’ll offer a short excerpt here, but hope you will read the full piece at their site. Today, I take on the best ways to pay off credit card debt — from best to worst.
Credit card debt is a way of life for many people. Nearly half of U.S. credit card holders – 43.8%, according to the American Banking Association – carry a balance from month to month. This group is known as “revolvers,” as opposed to “transactors” who pay their balance in full each month and make up 30% of card holders (those remaining are called “dormants,” since they don’t use their cards at all).
Revolvers carry average debt of about $7,000, according to NerdWallet. That gets expensive very fast, particularly because the average credit card interest rate hit an all-time high at the end of 2018, at 17.07%, – and is expected to go higher as the Federal Reserve plans to raise rates again in 2019.
A person paying the minimum on an average balance at that average rate would pay $1,029 in interest during the first year (author’s calculations using Bankrate’s tool)! So paying off that debt will really pay off in the long-run.
With that said, it’s easier said than done. We’re here to help. There are different ways to pay off credit card debt – ones we may consider excellent, good, or risky. We’re going to break them down for you and hopefully get you moved from being a revolver to a transactor in 2019.