What Is the Best Way to Handle Debt?By David Thompson, UniversityHerald Reporter
"Debt" is a word that is downright scary to most adults. If you're in debt, you probably feel a pit in your stomach just seeing it. You're not alone in this, though. Americans are carrying a lot of debt, billions and billions of it to be exact.
Getting into debt sure can be easy, but getting out isn't. That doesn't mean it's impossible though. If you take your time and truly make an effort to improve your financial situation, it is possible to get out of debt- even a large amount.
The standard advice is to never let your own debt-to-income ratio reach 30%. Some experts say if you have a lot coming in, you can stretch it to 35%. These figures include both "good debt" like a mortgage and "bad debt" like credit card bills. No matter which type of debt you have, if 50% or more of your income is going to debt, you need to take action right away.
When you're deep in debt and struggling to get out, it's so easy to feel overwhelmed. Don't panic! The bankruptcy lawyers at Macco Law tell us that these are a few things you should if you find yourself in debt:
°Analyze your situation.
°Create (and stick to!) a bare-bones budget.
°Pay all of your bills on time, especially utilities.
°Talk about bankruptcy by speaking to a bankruptcy attorney.
°Consider going to a credit counseling service.
°Prioritize the debt you need to pay.
°Talk to your credit card issuers.
°Transfer your credit card balance.
°Refinance as much of your debt as possible to get a lower interest rate.
°Set up a small portion of your paycheck to automatically go into a savings account in order to create an emergency fund.
If you're really struggling and can't pay off each debt every month, it's important to prioritize how much to pay and to whom. It's worth noting that there is more than one "right" way to handle debt. For example, some financial advisors will tell you to pay off the debt with the higher interest first. Others say to pay off smaller debts first. There are pros and cons of each. Select one and stick to it, and that will get you closer to where you need to be.
Above all else, stop creating new debt! You can't dig out of debt if you continue to rely on credit cards for expenses. For many people in your situation, this involves cutting up the credit cards and using cash as much as possible. That may or may not be feasible for you. Some people prefer to hand them over to a trusted friend or family member to hold on to them unless it's an emergency. Unexpected events, like your vehicle breaking down, can still happen. Even if you keep your credit cards, do not put anything new on them.
Following the ideas mentioned above are the best way to handle being in debt. You can do it! Make today the day you make a true change in your financial situation.