Getting Fiscally Fit! with June Walbert from USAA

Note: Follow up post from our visit with June Walbert on Tuesday’s show “Being Physically Fit & Fiscally Fit!”.

usaa_moneytips.gifRunning away from your debt?

Five easy steps to get you going in the right direction.

June Walbert, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner
USAA Financial Planning Services

The average American has almost $8,500 in credit-card debt, so you’re not alone if you’re struggling with how to pay off your debt. But with a little planning and a lot of commitment you too can become credit-card debt-free.

Stay on TRACK to get out of debt

To start running circles around your debt, take these five steps:

• Take a break – stop charging more to your cards.
• Request lower interest rates.
• Avoid late fees by paying on time.
• Create a budget.
• Keep pace by using one card once you’re debt-free.

Jump the first hurdle:
The first and most important move toward getting debt under control is to stop charging immediately. Put your credit cards in a shoe box on a high shelf, shred them – whatever it takes to create distance between you and the cards.

Make strides with lower rates:
Call your credit-card company to request a lower interest rate and consider consolidating your debt onto one card. Be sure to read the fine print for details on how long a low-interest rate will last, and if there are transfer fees.

Pace yourself with a budget:
Learn where your money is going. Create a spending record by writing down how much money you earn and spend each month – include all expenses as well as impulse purchases, like a new DVD or pair of shoes. After a few weeks, review the list to see what items you can cut out. You’ll likely be surprised to find where your money is going. Next, develop a budget by listing items that absolutely have to be paid, such as the mortgage, utility bills, insurance, and groceries. Then, be sure to redirect some funds toward paying off your debt.

Build speed with bigger payments:
Try to pay more than the “minimum amount due,” so you can reduce your balance faster. Pay your bill on time to avoid late fees and damage to your credit score. Set up online bill payments to make sure your bills arrive on time.

For those of you serving in the military, being deployed may not seem like a potential boon to your financial situation. But, smart management of the increased pay could help you pay down your debt in short order. Having the discipline to pay off debt with the hardship pay could give you an extra push toward a zero-balance. Take advantage of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, which gives active duty military members exclusive benefits, such as reduced interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, and auto loans.

Stay on track with one card:
To reduce the temptation to go back to spending, trim your credit-card usage to one or two cards that you use for emergencies. If you use a credit card once your debt is paid off, be sure to pay it off in full each month. This will strengthen your credit rating and help keep you on the right path.

Now that you have a five-step plan to help you stay on track to get rid of credit-card debt, you can take bigger strides toward financial security. For more information, visit usaa.com.

June Walbert is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner with USAA Financial Planning Services, one of the USAA family of companies. Walbert is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.

——-
Have a question? Here is the # we talked about on the show:
USAA Financial Advice Center
800-531-3392

Look for a future show with June on the topic of Credit Scores! Date TBA

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2 Responses

  1. Again this is wonderful information, hubby and I have been back and forth with our debt and we are finnally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.. I can’t wait to be stress free and debt free. LOL I can’t wait to hear about the credit scores.

  2. The show with June was great info….I think the more we talk about managing money, the more we learn. The Credit Score show with June will probably be early Sept.

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