By Jordan E. Goodman
AARP electronic versions give you useful information, confirmed ideas, and specialist suggestions.
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Additional resources for AARP Master Your Debt. Slash Your Monthly Payments and Become Debt Free
You’re lying to yourself if you don’t know how much money you owe, or what the interest rate is on your credit card, or what your house is worth right now. Maybe the financial truths are painful—you are afraid to look at all of your debts at once. Or maybe they’re just burdensome and confusing, so you go through every month getting paid and paying bills without looking at the big picture. Maybe you’re comfortable financially, so you don’t want to bother putting the time into studying your entire financial situation.
To encourage consumers to use the cards for even the tiniest pack-of-gum type purchases, issuers started promoting the cards with big cash-back bonuses for money charged at gas stations, convenience stores, and groceries. Then they started piling on the fees. Issuers that used to depend on interest income and fees from merchants discovered they could really cash in if they charged consumers for being late, for going over their credit limits, for getting cash advances, and for anything else they could think of.
But now you can see the size of your problem. Do a Risk Test Do you remember in 2009 when the federal government subjected all of the big banks to stress tests? Basically, all they were doing was checking to see if the banks had adequate emergency resources to make it through a variety of worst-case scenarios. You should do the same thing with your own family finances. Sit down with your net worth worksheet and your cash flow worksheet, and ask yourself these questions:• If I lost my job, how many months would I be able to keep up with my bills?
AARP Master Your Debt. Slash Your Monthly Payments and Become Debt Free by Jordan E. Goodman