Financial Management Insight flipbook 2024

Sources: The Knot, 2023; National Association of Realtors, 2023; Brookings, 2022 (based on 2015 USDA data); College Board, 2023 Escape the Credit-Card Trap The average credit-card balance was $6,088 in the third quarter of 2023.1 Although paying off your cards may not sound as appealing as a trip to Hawaii or a new car, it could prove to be one of the wisest “investments” you make. Here are four strategies to help pay down credit-card debt more quickly. 1. Pay more than the minimum monthly amounts whenever possible, and try to reduce the account balances on the highest-rate cards first. 2. Use low introductory rates or 0% balance transfers to help lower interest payments and pay off more of the balance during the promotional period. Before transferring balances, make sure any rates that might kick in later won’t be higher than normal, and resolve not to spend more and run up the balance again after you pay off the card. 3. Make monthly payments on time. The interest rate on some accounts may be much higher for cardholders who pay late or have low credit scores in general. 4. Call the credit-card company and try to negotiate a lower rate. 1 Transunion, 2023 $310,605 Estimated cost to raise a child born in 2015 to age 18 (with projected inflation) $24,030 Average annual cost to attend a four-year public college, 2023–2024 (in-state tuition, fees, housing, and food) $56,190 Make that a private college