Article by JAY PERONI for Christian PF
Have you ever heard the saying “I’m so poor, I can’t even pay attention”? It is so true with credit cards. Most people do not pay attention to the fine print. The biggest financial mistakes that I see on a day-to-day basis mainly deal with credit card issues. It is not so much the balance that is the problem, it is the interest. This is the biggest wealth-killer. If you have even a $10,000 balance at 19.99 percent, this is almost $2,000 a year in interest. That is $2,000 that could have been donated or invested. This adds up over time, especially when you are making only the minimum required payments.
You will make very little progress if you are just sending that minimum payment each month. This is where the credit card companies make most of their profit. If you owe $10,000 and make the minimum payments, you will often pay two to three or more times the principal amount in interest. That’s right, over the life of that debt, you’ll pay $10,000 or $20,000 or more to service that debt. So a $10,000 purchase may in reality end up costing you $20,000 or $30,000. Credit card companies make money by killing you with late fees, high interest payments, and confusing small print. Don’t be a victim of their game; get out of debt. You can’t achieve true wealth carrying credit card debt.
Reduce the interest rates on those credit cards!
Get the Credit Card monkey off your back
In order to make headway in paying off your credit card debt, you need an aggressive course of action. This requires lowering your interest payments, paying off the smallest balances first, and paying more than the required monthly payments. In order to get the monkey off your back, you have to first be prepared to fight back. In this war for your wealth, pacifism leads to poverty.
You can lower your credit card interest by following a simple method:
Step 1: Find out your current interest rates on your credit cards.
Step 2: Shop around and find what competing cards are charging for interest.
Step 3: Call your credit card companies and ask to speak to a supervisor or manager. Use competitor rates to negotiate your rate down. Keep escalating your request up to the next manager if you do not get the answer you are looking for from the first manager you talk to. Be persistent. Don’t back down.
Step 4: While you are at it, negotiate to have your late fees reversed. This is also negotiable. Be prepared to fight back.
Step 5: Set up your future payments to that company to be made automatically. Either use a bill-payment company or have your monthly payments scheduled to automatically hit before their respective due dates.
Step 6: Continue making the largest monthly payment you can make—above the minimum payment.
The value of reducing your interest rates
Jane came to see me a few years ago. She didn’t think she could ever get out of debt. She and I sat down and figured out that at her current pace, it would take her twenty-eight and a half years to pay off her debt. Her interest rates were between 19 percent and 27 percent. She followed the action plan listed above and negotiated her rates down to 7–12 percent. She paid off the smallest balances first and kept allocating money toward debt repayment.
Within three years, Jane had paid off all her balances. She saved more than twenty-five years of payments and nearly $100,000 in interest charges. She is now able to take the money she was paying the credit card companies and give more to her church and save more for her future. Jane got the credit card monkey off her back.
Used by permission from ChristianPF.com