Money Matters

Money Matters: Financial Wellness and Controlling Credit Card Debt

Editor’s Note: Briant Sikorski from Stratos Wealth Partners in Cary contributed this article.

Cary, NC – You know it’s important to maintain your physical health. But did you know it’s just as important to pay attention to your financial health? When your finances are under control, you are likely to reduce stress and are better able to save for retirement and your other long-term goals.

So how do you achieve financial wellness? If you’re carrying a balance on your credit cards, focusing on eliminating that debt would be a good first step.

Credit Card Creep

Credit card debt can creep up on you. Paying for purchases with a credit card is easy and convenient. But then you get the bill. If you don’t pay the entire bill right away, interest is added to your balance. And if you keep using the card and don’t pay it off each month, soon you could be carrying a large balance.

Following the same pattern with more than one credit card could cause your debt to spiral out of control.

Money Matters

A Heavy Burden

While it probably won’t be easy or quick, you can get yourself out from under the burden of credit card debt. Here are some strategies that can help:

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Pay more than the minimum amount due each month.
  • Pay off the cards with the highest rates first.
  • Leave your credit cards at home when you shop.
  • Pay cash for smaller purchases.
  • Save up for larger purchases.
  • Develop a spending plan.

Controlling your spending and credit card debt can help you attain financial wellness.

Taking Control

By making a larger credit card payment each month, you’ll pay off your balance faster, reduce the amount you spend on interest, and have more money available to save for retirement. Consider the hypothetical example below:

Credit Card Balance: $5,000
Monthly Payment Payoff Timeline Total Interest Paid
$100 6 years, 4 months $2,548
$250 1 year, 11 months $727
Source: DST Systems, Inc. This is a hypothetical example used for illustrative purposes only. Your results will be different. It assumes an initial credit balance of $5,000, an interest rate of 14 percent compounded monthly, and no new purchases with the card.

Briant Sikorski is a Wealth Advisor at Stratos Wealth Partners. Photos by Consumerist.