When it comes to retirement, one of the first things that comes to mind for most people is saving for the future. Many of us start thinking this way, especially in our 40s and 50s, we take a deep breath and begin to wonder, how are we going to pay for that?
One of the ways, of course, is to begin saving now.
Another overlooked way is to focus on wiping out debt, such as credit cards, once and for all.
After spending decades on Wall Street, I know there is good debt, like having a mortgage (a fixed rate with the ability to deduct the interest!), and bad debt, like credit cards and abused lines of credit that can impact your overall wealth.
Most minimize the impact of debt.
Bottom line: Debt kills growth.
What does this look like? When interest rates go up, you will start feeling the pinch. Most lines of credit are not at a “fixed rate”, therefore, that minimum payment could DOUBLE. Talk about a slow leak in your boat!
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” — Benjamin Franklin
Here is my six-point system to start becoming a debt destroyer.
Knock it out once and for all with these powerful tips:
1. Money Leaks – do you know what you are spending every month? Daymond Johns made a comment on a recent appearance on LIVE!(™) with Kelly & Michael stating that one of the keys to his financial success is sticking to a budget his whole life. Look at your credit card statements to start piecing together where you are spending and how much every month. Then look at your income to see how much you are overspending.
2. Pull The Plug – are you subscribing to a service you are never using? That could add up to well over $1,000 a year going out the door. But look at smaller “gotcha” expenses that are so small, that you don’t feel the pitch in the short term. Let’s start with those 2 Grande Lattes a day. At just say, $4 a pop – that is $40 a week, almost $175 a month and over $2,000 a year! Start looking at what you can cut out completely or cut back to to balance that budget.
3. Rally The Troops – create a list of all of your credit cards. Include the current balance, minimum payment, interest rate. Most people will tell you to attack the card with the highest interest rate. Resist…lower the bar for yourself, and focus on paying down the lowest balance credit card first. Make the minimum payment on the others, and put the rest on smallest one. That’s a faster path to victory. Once that is paid off, take that payment and apply it to the next lowest balance, and so on. Small victories will keep you in the game longer.
4. Secret Weapon – when large lump sums of money come into your business, don’t purchase the next shiny object. Once your bills are paid for the month, put that lump sum of cash toward the debt to help destroy it.
5. Commit And Don’t Quit – As with any goal, it won’t work until you implement. As General George S. Patton once said, “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.”
6. Get help – If you need help, ask! This is the first place we work with our clients to cut expenses, crush debt and free up some desperately needed cash. It’s life changing…and preserves the longevity of your business.
Where can you find the extra money immediately? Your line of defense is this…Focus on cutting expenses and balancing your budget. Avoid letting money burn a hole in your pocket as soon as you get it.
Brandon Ballenger, a freelance journalist for Money News, writes, “Unless you can make your goal more powerful than your existing habits, nothing will change.”
I know what my next steps are. Do you?