LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — According to a new survey, many Americans say their debt is unmanageable. Credit cards are one of the main reasons so many people are in debt. To help you keep your head above water, 13 Action News presenter Tricia Kean spoke with an expert on how to tackle this debt.
“I’ve got quite a few,” says Cherie Cornelius of Centennial Hills.
She says she’s had a collection of credit cards since she was 18. She admits she got into serious debt.
“I’ve learned over the years that they’re not meant to sweep just anywhere,” Cherie says.
DROWNING IN DEBT
Cherie says she learned her lesson after years of only making the minimum payment. But many Americans are still drowning in debt.
A survey by OppLoans says half of Americans are in debt. 52% of people in debt say their debt is not manageable.
So we went to an expert from the non-profit organization, Money Management International or MMI, for a game plan on paying off your debt. Number one: know how much you earn and spend each month.
“Most of the clients we work with have never created a family budget. They may not know what their credit score is. They may not have pulled out their credit report in years. is therefore really important to take control”, says Thomas Nitzsche with MMI.
Number two: Call your lenders and see if they can lower your interest rates.
“It’s a good idea to contact all of those creditors and see if they’re willing to adjust those rates and if you’re having financial difficulty, be sure to present your case to see if you can get those rates lowered. interest,” says Nitzsche.
Number three: Try to pay off the lowest balance first. Once it is paid, you can invest additional money in paying off the next lowest balance.
“Unfortunately, here in Las Vegas, a lot of people in debt sometimes use these payday loan places. How about that?” Tricia said. “Payday loans are so difficult. You know, a study they did with Pew Charitable Trusts a few years ago found that the average person doesn’t just take out one. They actually take out multiple over and over again. This payday loan cycle is really damaging because the interest rate is so high,” says Nitzsche.
That Pew Charitable Trusts reportfound on average, a borrower takes out eight $375 loans each year and spends $520 on interest.
“So it’s very important to avoid these whenever possible,” says Nitzsche.
With a plan, some financial discipline, and time, you can get out of debt. But if you decide you need a professional, be wary of who you turn to for help.
“If the company guarantees that it can improve your credit, especially in a short period of time, that is a red flag. If a company says that it can settle your debt for pennies on the dollar, it is a red flag. This is another red flag,” says Nitzsche.
As for Cherie, she says she’s come a long way to find out for herself.
“I learned to pay off as much as possible. So I was able to pay off quite a few…I’m working on getting a zero balance on everything,” Cherie says.