Do you ask yourself these questions: Isn’t this four-letter word going to follow me throughout my life? Don’t you need this four-letter word to buy a house, to fund an education, to buy cars, to have nice things in life? Everyone else lives with the four-letter word, why shouldn’t I do the same?
In my last post, Can you imagine your life without this four-letter word, I shared a bit of my story with the four letter word, D-E-B-T. I began by getting my credit card spending under control and moved on to other debt. I said “no” to a lot of purchases but was able to find satisfaction in paying off my credit cards each month in full. Surviving the first year with no credit card debt was an incredible feeling and gave me the incentive to continue with the same plan of paying off my credit card every month in full for the next 25 years.
That first step of getting my credit cards under control, followed by attacking the rest of my debt, has allowed me to do many things.
- It allowed me to prioritize buying a top of the line, fully loaded car with a 2.9% interest rate and paying it off in 24 months.
- It allowed me to shift from a full-time career to a part-time career when we had children.
- It has allowed me to travel extensively with my family taking numerous vacations each year including annual beach trips, cross country vacations and family trips to Europe every few years.
What is your why to getting out of debt? Identify and write down your why. Getting debt under control, is not easy or fun, but it is tremendously beneficial for your future. It becomes easier when you know your why and when you are on the same page with you spouse. Are you ready to get serious and make plan? A realistic plan that you can live with, one that you can follow for as long as it takes. In my last post, I asked you to gather all your information together. Now I want you to write it all down and list out the information on a piece of paper or on a spreadsheet. Look at the quick example below.
As you list your debts, list the actual payment amount if it is fixed, or the minimum payment if it changes each month (like a credit card). On some of your statements, you will see the number of remaining payments. Compute this in either months or years and add to this table. You will see above I listed number of years remaining to pay. If you are making extra payments, for now just list the minimum payments and the total time to pay off the debt. If the remaining time to pay off is not noted, type in your computer search engine “How long will it take to pay off debt?”, or “Debt Repayment Calculator”. There are plenty of sites out there that will let you key in the information and tell you how long it will take to pay off the charge, including bankrate.com, creditkarma.com, nerdwallet.com, and many banks have loan calculators on their websites.
Do you realize that while making minimum payments,
it will take nearly 13 years to pay off an $8,000 credit card at 18% interest?
…..and this assumes you stop using the card.
For this week, just gather information and write it down and think about your why. If you are married, share your spreadsheet with your spouse and together look at how many years you have remaining. Next up we will discuss setting up a payment schedule to get rid of your four-letter word and how to do it in less time!