Unexpected emergencies are always around the corner... Carrying credit card debts makes it harder to respond to these circumstances, and makes it more likely that an unexpected emergency will be financially devastating.
Riverside, CA (PRWEB) April 15, 2013
Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management, Inc. ("Springboard") is urging consumers to commit this year to eliminating credit card debt due to the results of a national consumer financial literacy survey. According to the survey, nearly two in five Americans (39%) carry credit card debt from month to month – a proportion that has remained largely unchanged since 2010 (41% 2010, 40% 2011).
“We encourage consumers to take active steps to reduce or eliminate credit card debt and live on a cash basis, whenever possible,” said Sheri Stuart, Springboard’s education department manager. “Making a commitment today to tackle credit card debt can pay big dividends in the future. Freedom from revolving credit card debt is essential for financial stability,” said Stuart.
Don’t Wait to Pay off Debt
Springboard recommends that consumers begin working to pay off debts immediately, and to do so aggressively. The longer a consumer holds on to credit card debt, the more it will cost, and the more likely another financial emergency becomes.
“We’ve always pointed out how expensive credit card debt is,” Stuart said. “As interest accrues on those debts, the total cost of a credit card purchase can double. The faster a consumer can pay off that credit card debt, the better.”
Springboard offers an online Credit Card Interest Calculator to help consumers figure out how much extra they will have to pay in interest when they use credit cards for purchases.
“Unexpected emergencies are always around the corner. It might be an illness, job loss, sudden home or auto repairs, tax increases, rising interest rates, or any number of other unwelcomed events. Carrying credit card debts makes it harder to respond to these circumstances, and makes it more likely that an unexpected emergency will be financially devastating.”
Tackling Credit Card Debt
Springboard has helped consumers pay off their credit card debts for four decades. Drawing on more than 38 years of experience, the agency offers the following tips for consumers who want to get a strong start on paying off their debts:
> Pay as much as possible. The biggest mistake consumers make is paying only the minimum payment amount. In order to recover from holiday spending and make headway toward eliminating lingering debt, Springboard urges consumers to pay as much as they can afford each month, and never make just the minimum payment toward credit card debt.
> Create a budget. Most consumers will have to cut back on spending to have enough extra money to pay down debt. Creating a concrete spending plan will allow consumers to find areas in their budget to make cuts, and will help to ensure that they don’t overspend going forward.
> Build an emergency fund. Everyone should set aside money for unexpected emergencies. Springboard recommends a goal of nine months’ income for an emergency fund. Again, creating a written budget can help savers set aside money from every pay check to build their emergency funds.
> Stop borrowing immediately. Until debts are paid off and an emergency fund is established, consumers should stop adding to their debt levels with credit cards.
> Get counseling if necessary. Consumers who need help with budgeting or credit card debt can call Springboard and request a free, confidential credit counseling session. Telephone counseling is available nationwide. Springboard’s financial counselors are certified by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
About Springboard Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management
SPRINGBOARD® Nonprofit Consumer Credit Management, Inc. (“Springboard”) is an IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofit personal financial education and counseling organization founded in 1974. Springboard is an approved housing counseling regional intermediary by the U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development, and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation signifying the highest standards in the industry for agency governance, fiscal integrity, counselor certification and service delivery policies. In addition, Springboard is a member of both national industry associations; the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and the Association of Independent Credit Counseling Agencies. Springboard offers personal financial education and confidential counseling in foreclosure prevention, rent, reverse mortgage, pre-bankruptcy and debtor education, and debt and money management. Springboard provides telephone counseling services nationwide, and maintains offices in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, South Carolina and Massachusetts for in-person sessions. Not all types of counseling are available at all locations. For more information on Springboard, please visit their web site at http://www.springboard.org or call 800.449.9818.