Credit Card Payoff
How you speak, feel and act toward yourself will play a large part in your future financial success. Always talk positively, feel good, and act in a manner that say’s “I am a winner” and even if you are not now a winner, you soon will be!
In short, your mental focus on a daily basis plays a large part in your personal financial success—both now and in the future.
Use your mental focus to be the best that you can be. You are in total control of your mind and daily thoughts and you can use that control to be the best “you” that “you” can be and your future can be as bright as the stars up above that you see!
Your mental focus must abound in you or control your daily thought process. Once that occurs you will begin to see positive movement in your finances and daily life!
You must always “add to” your faith, preparation, and success to be even more successful. You should never be content at the level that you are currently at. Life is a continuum and you can always do better in all areas of your life.
In the area of your personal finances your goal should be to structure your financial life in a manner that minimizes your financial stresses and maximizes your financial well being or positive thought process about your current and future finances.
By improving your credit, using personal financial statements, and analyzing all areas of your finances (insurance, investments, taxes, emergency fund, education planning, estate planning/wills and retirement planning) you can structure your personal finances in a manner that is best for you and your family.
However, if you decide to seek professional assistance it is crucial that you are dealing with someone who asks the right questions and is truly working in your best interest.
Below you will find the monthly income and expenses of a past client including their credit card debt and what they did to improve their financial position! Permission was granted by them to use their information, however for privacy policies of our company their names will not be disclosed.
Monthly Income $2,800
CREDIT CARD BILLS
CITI $6,800-----current payment...$100----minimum payment $110
USAA $5,100-----current payment...$200----minimum payment $100
B of A $460-------current payment...$60-----minimum payment $20
Lowes $460-------current payment...$60-----minimum payment $20
Wells Fargo $400-------current payment...$100----minimum payment $20
Total Credit Card Debt: $13,220
Their first two pay checks of the month go toward-----Food---$453-----Gas for Auto $100-----Mortgage………$1,000…..Total $1,553
Their third pay check of the month goes toward---Electric...$150…Gas…$100…Cable/Phone/Internet… $150…Water…$100...Gas for Auto $50…..Total $650
Their fourth pay check of the month goes toward--------Credit Cards…..$520…..Insurance…$130…..Gas for Auto…..$50…..Total $700
Discretionary Income or Net Difference (-153)
The above mentioned couple had been using credit to live on and jumbling their finances in a haphazard way until they finally decided to seek professional guidance.
They had been spending more than they take in on a monthly basis. By getting the couple to organize their finances which they currently were not doing we were able to get a clear picture of where they were at financially.
They were in a difficult financial position, but not an insurmountable position where bankruptcy or debt consolidation was the best choice.
A payoff plan was devised based on their income and choices that were presented to them and they thought and believed they could accomplish.
They have $2,800 in monthly income minus monthly expenses of ($2,953 minus $520 in credit card debt that they were paying) $2,433 leaving ($2,800 minus $2,433) $367 to apply towards the credit card debt on a monthly basis.
The “minimum” credit card payments when all totaled amount to $270 as shown below.
CREDIT CARD BILLS
CITI $6,800----------minimum payment of $110
USAA $5,100----------minimum payment of $100
B of A $460------------minimum payment of $20
Lowes $460------------minimum payment of $20
Wells Fargo $400------------minimum payment of $20
Note: They were paying $520 per month in an attempt to reduce some credit card debt but did not have an organized plan of reducing or eliminating their debt, however the minimum payment was $270 per month. Their take home pay was $700 per week and they were using their credit cards to the tune of approximately $200 per month.
They decided to use the following plan to attack their credit card debt:
By paying the minimum of $110 to CITI, $100 to USAA, $20 to B of A, and $20 to Lowes--total of $250--they had $117 to apply to the Wells Fargo payment and by making the payment in four months the balance would be wiped out.
They then decided to use the $117 payment they were paying to Wells Fargo plus the $20 minimum that they were paying to Lowes to pay the Lowes account at $137 per month. In 3 months (7 months total from start of plan) the Lowes account would be paid off.
They then decided to use the $137 payment they were paying to Lowes plus the $20 minimum that they were paying to B of A to pay the B of A account at $157 per month. In 2 months (9 months total from start of plan) the B of A account would be paid off.
They then decided to use the $157 payment they were paying to B of A plus the $100 minimum that they were paying to USAA to pay the USAA account at $257 per month. At this time the USAA account would have a balance of approximately $4,300 and in 17 months (26 months total from start of plan) the USAA account would be paid off.
At that point they then decided to use the $257 payment they were paying to USAA plus the $110 minimum that they were paying to CITI to pay the CITI account at $367 per month. At this time the CITI account would have a balance of approximately $4,500 and in 12 months (40 months total from start of plan or a little over 3 years) the CITI account would be paid off and they would still have excellent credit and no debt other than there mortgage.
By knowing that they could manage their way out of their situation and still retain their excellent credit rating they began to feel good about their finances and financial future.
They knew the “time certain” that they could be out of debt with actual numbers and time frames and that alone brought clarity and peace of mind to them.
By creating and analyzing one personal financial statement (monthly cash flow statement or monthly budget) they were able to clearly see where they were at financially.
If used in conjunction with a personal balance sheet and income statement they could get an even clearer picture of their finances to help them plan their future even more effectively.
To summarize their payoff plan it would go as follows:
Wells Fargo—Payoff Time of 4 months
Lowes—Payoff Time of 7 months
B of A—Payoff Time of 9 months
USAA—Payoff Time of 26 months
CITI—Payoff Time of 40 months
Total Payoff Time of All Credit Card Debt (40 months or just over 3 years)
Also note that in the above situation other payoff options were presented. However they decided to choose the option of paying off the accounts with the lowest balance first so that they could gain positive momentum.
Other options such as paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate and working your way down could also be appropriate if you felt more comfortable with that approach.
The main conceptual understanding you must have is that you must be "motivated and have the mental focus along with the proper income" to execute your chosen option.
In actual practice they were able to pay off their debt within 12 months as the spouse was so inspired by the fact that they did not have to file bankruptcy or otherwise default on their debt obligations that she went back to work and they attacked their debt even more aggressively than that which they planned and intended to.
In addition, they were “eager” to gain control of their finances and were so excited with their success at being debt free after twelve months that they wanted to learn even more about improving and maintaining their credit and finances.
At that point they began to learn and apply the credit and finance principles listed on this site and now they have a clear understanding of their credit and finances and their net worth is increasing yearly at a high level.
Use caution if you are currently living off of your credit cards:
Had the couple listed above continued jumbling and living off their credit cards in the manner that they were doing their credit score would have continued to go down and they would have reached an insurmountable level of debt based on their income.
At that point it would be difficult if not impossible for them to manage their way out of their debt situation that they created in a manner that made good financial sense.
If you are currently using credit to live off of you must realize that you will eventually reach a point where managing your way out becomes difficult or impossible.
It is important that you get more income now and cut back or eliminate the use of credit if your goal is to improve your credit and finance position for yourself and your family.
It is important that once you get your credit paid off you are in a position to avoid repeating the cycle.
creation of an emergency fund will help you avoid the unwise use
of your credit. After the establishment of your emergency fund try to keep
yourself in a position where you can pay off your monthly credit obligations in
Other Key Points
After their credit card payoff the above mentioned couple will have a fairly simple financial life as they can easily visualize (mortgage, gas, electric, cable/phone/internet, insurance, and water bills) their monthly bills that come out of their checking account on a monthly basis.
Food and gas and other payments are not done from their checking account since the time they put together their credit card payoff plan.
The lower the number of monthly payments coming out of your checking account for the payment of your monthly bills the better it is for your mental financial well being.
You don't want to be in a position where you are paying 20 to 30 bills per month out of your checking account.
By having a large number of payments coming from your checking account you add to the financial stress in your life. By having a low number of payments coming from your account you reduce stress and add financial clarity of thought to your life—which is better for your health and lifestyle.
you know that your credit has an effect on your insurance rates
that you are or will be paying?
Making the right choices is critical in today's political and financial environment.
Even though the above couple initially had modest income and still do to a large degree—they live and save at a level higher than many who earn three times their income.
It all started with the financial choices that they made and continue to make—including continuous education and improvement in all areas of their financial lives.
They now have a high level of understanding of their credit and they know fully what it takes to pay off credit card debt.
They are now in a position to pass on that
which was learned to their family and friends to help them improve their living
Why making the right choice is so important:
Contrast the above couple with one who was in a similar situation and they went to a professional who was not looking out for their best interest (mainly suggesting that you do what is best for them and their bottom line such as filing bankruptcy or using debt consolidation) and you can easily see how the couple could follow that advice and see their excellent credit diminish for years and put them in a disadvantageous financial and credit position when it really didn’t have to be that way.
Therefore, it is imperative that you get several opinions when you are considering filing bankruptcy or are otherwise confused or conflicted about your financial situation.
Of course the best advice or solution is to get the right opinion from the first professional you choose.
However, in this world of greed and corruption it is better to get several opinions. Or if you feel up to it come up with a workable plan yourself that will put you on the right track to improving your and your family's finances.