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How to Pay Off Your Credit Card Debt: 3 Strategies for Success
- Joseph Carpenito's Featured Quote:
The snowball method. If you have several credit cards, you could work on paying off the smallest debts first, even if others have high interest rates.
It's a psychological approach rather than the most mathematically efficient method, admits Joseph Carpenito, a financial advisor with Raymond James Financial Services who is based out of Boca Raton, Florida.
"Most people attack their highest credit card balance first, with the reasoning that they are paying the most in yearly interest on that card," Carpenito says.
This makes sense from a mathematical standpoint, and it's a good plan. But it isn't for everyone.
"Unfortunately, life gets in the way and that card never gets paid off, and they are only able to make a dent in the balance owed," Carpenito says.
If you like landing small victories, the snowball strategy is probably for you, Carpenito says.
For instance, let's say that you have three credit cards: one is a store credit card with $500 on it; a second credit card has $2,000 on it; a third has an eye-popping $7,000. Obviously, you pay the minimum payment on each every month, but the most money – as much as you're comfortable with and hopefully well over the minimum payment – goes toward the store credit card. Once that's paid off, then you take the money you were saving that went to the store credit card and use that every month to go toward the credit card with $2,000. Once that card is finally paid off, all the money that went to the card with $2,000 on it – you now add to what you're paying every month for the $7,000 credit card.
It's called the snowball strategy because the amount of money going to each successive card is getting bigger, like a snowball rolling down a hill, and your debt is continually getting smaller.
Views expressed in this article are the current opinion of the author and are subject to change without notice. Information contained in this report was received from sources believed to be reliable,but accuracy is not guaranteed. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Raymond James or your financial advisor.