Escaping the Credit Card Debt Trap

Let’s talk about credit card debt—and how to get out.

If you gulped at that sentence and thought, “How did you know?” you need to understand this: You’re not alone. I get a steady stream of people in my office seeking freedom from the miserable consequences of buying more than they can afford. 

Most are struggling just to make the minimum payment each month—and staring at 10-20 years of high-interest payments. They feel hopeless.

Here’s the proven, six-step plan I show them:

  • Open your eyes

Until you see how damaging credit card debt is to you, your family, and your financial future, you will never act. 

One example…let’s say you owe your credit card company $10,000 at 25% interest. Each month you make a minimum payment of $225. 

Do you realize it will take you over ten years to pay off the card? And that’s if you never make another purchase with it! Is that what you want for the next decade?

Oh, and by the way, you’ll end up paying more than $28,000 for the $10,000 worth of charges you made with your credit card. Was it worth it? Really?

  • Close your wallet

The solution to a leaky bucket isn’t to add more water—it’s to stop the leak. In order to escape the credit card trap, you have to make the hard decision to change the way you spend money. Typically, that means you stop carrying credit cards with you (just like my friend who wants to maintain his sobriety doesn’t hang out in bars). 

Some people literally cut up their cards, reasoning, “It’s going to be hard to pay down my credit card debt if I keep pulling out my credit card!”

  • Make a plan

Once you decide to stop using credit cards, you need a plan to pay off the outstanding balance on those cards. This will require creating a monthly budget for how you will spend your money, starting with the exact monthly amount you are going to send to each credit card company. 

Your plan should be so specific that you can name the date on which you will be out of credit card debt.

You may be able to do this by yourself. However, this step and the next often require the help of a financial planner. Spend the money to hire such a pro. It’s a wise investment. (Just don’t use your credit card!) 

  • Get a partner

This might be the professional you hire. It could be a friend. But it needs to be someone who will meet with you regularly to hold you accountable to your plan. Do not skip this step—it is key to your success.

  • Do it NOW

It is never a “good time.” Halloween is coming up. Then Thanksgiving. Then Christmas. Then there’s that ski trip you’ve been promising the kids…

However, until you are willing to get started now, you are not serious. Don’t wait for a “better” time. The right time to start is NOW. 

  • Keep going

And I don’t just mean keep going for the duration of the plan. Maintain this mindset even after your debt is paid off.

Many people facing serious credit card trouble find that with this six-step plan, they can be completely out of debt in less than a year. Others may take longer. 

Watching those balances fall steadily month by month is extremely liberating. 

And imagine how amazing you’ll feel when you make that final payment, and you are officially DEBT-FREE! 

What about it? Are you ready?

Get started now.

P.S. If you don’t currently have credit card debt, two things: (1) Well done, you! (2) Send these steps to someone who does.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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