How To Become Debt Free In 1/2 The Time (Or Less)

By Michael Peterson
In September 16, 2004

With consumer debt at an all time high it’s time we take control of our finances and get out of the “debt trap”. Do you realize that if you owe $2,000 on a credit card with a 21% interest rate, and you only make the minimum payment each month that you will owe on this account for approximately 19 years and pay a total of $6725.64 in principle and interest?

If you are tired of straining under the pressure of debt, take the following steps and remove this burden in a fraction of the time.

  1. No more charging. Commit now to discontinue the use of credit cards. In fact cut up the cards that you have, call the companies and close the accounts. If you have to have a credit card for work try a debit card (they are widely accepted, and the funds are pulled directly from your checking account).
  2. Figure your monthly minimums for each of your debts and (if possible) add 5% or 10% to this number. The addition is not mandatory but will dramatically improve the success of the program.
  3. Promise to make the above-mentioned payment from now until the debts are completely paid off. This means that even though the minimum payment requirements will go down over time you will still make the same payment. This also means that when one card is paid off you will still make the same payment. Just apply the extra funds to one of the other debts.

That’s it, just three easy steps. Now I realize that the emotional commitment to make this plan work and become debt free may not be all that easy, but let me give you something to think about… Remember that $2,000 debt? Yes, the one that took 19 years to pay off. Using this program (without the additional 5% or 10%) we will pay this debt off in about 8.5 years and save approximately $2,387 in interest.

Need a little more motivation? If you were to invest that same monthly payment (the one we were making on the $2,000 debt) at the end of the 8.5 years for the next 10.5 years (you remember, 19 years total) at a return of 12% you would have approximately $10,682.

Interest is a magical tool. Your creditors use it to their advantage all of the time. It can also work in your favor if you properly implement the right program to harness it. If you take the steps mentioned above it won’t be long before interest is working for you instead of against you.

Mike is the author of “Reality Millionaire: Proven Tips to Retire Rich” and he has been published in a variety of local and national publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, Deseret Morning News, LDS Living Magazine, and Physicians Money Digest. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of Phoenix.

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