Rising personal debt is a concern for many individuals. Here are several steps to help you manage debt wisely:
• Know the signs
Is your spending more than your income? Can you put money into savings each month? Can you only make the minimum payment on your card? Do you use multiple credit cards? These, and other, red flags can indicate that your debt is becoming unmanageable.
• Know where you stand
Consider all your outstanding debt – credit cards, car payments, mortgage and student loans – to determine your total debt situation. Create or update your budget. Use your financial provider’s online tools to track spending, stay on budget and pay down debt.
• Know the benefits of debt consolidation
Combining debt into one account may not improve your credit score, however, it can help you better manage your debt over time. Make sure you know the cost and the impacts on the amount of interest and fees you will pay to consolidate.
• Know your options
Financial service providers may offer a number of debt consolidation options to qualified borrowers. Sit down with a banker and go over all of your options to find the one that best fits your needs. Options could include: home equity accounts, and secured and unsecured personal loans and lines of credit.
• Get started!
Meet with a banker to pick the right solution for your specific needs. The key to financial success is to use credit wisely.