Major life events can put many of us in a financial bind. Hefty student loans, high credit card balances, and even large mortgage payments can all make us feel strapped after reaching some of life’s most important milestones. If you’re feeling like there’s no way out of your debt, here are three bad-debt scenarios and options for overcoming the financial burden.
1. Suffocated by student loans
It’s very important to pay your student loans on time and never skimp on the payment. Student loans are usually in the form of installment loans, and if you make your payments on time and make the full payment due on each installment, you can really help strengthen your payment history, which can impact up to 30% of your Experian credit score. If you’re struggling to make the minimum payment, there are some options available, such as consolidating your loans or contacting your lenders and negotiating a lower rate. Be careful before considering either option, however, because depending on the route you take, it could show up on your credit report and affect your score.
2. Feeling the credit card crunch
Creating and adhering to a plan to pay off credit card debt can be a very rewarding accomplishment. Your first step should be to look at your budget to see where you can cut costs. Luxury expenses like dinners out on the town or designer clothes should be easily crossed off your budget lists. If you feel like you’ve already trimmed your budget as much as you can, there are some alternatives to consider. One solution for handling credit card debt is to transfer your balances to a new credit card with a lower interest rate. Before you take advantage of credit card offers with a low interest rate, understand that many times this is just a limited-time introductory rate and that there may be other terms and conditions, such as balance transfer fees, that you need to consider.
3. Bound to a big mortgage
If you have equity in your home and solid credit, one option might be to refinance your loan for a lower interest rate or a lower payment. Refinancing isn’t for everyone, and there are usually strict criteria to qualify for refinancing. Make sure you do your research and consult with a lender you trust before making the call. If the timing and the market are right, you might consider selling and downsizing to get out of your high mortgage payment. If you have equity in your home, you may be able to reap enough profit to help get you out of other debts as well.
Whether these options work for your financial situation or not, one important factor to always consider is your budget. If you’re spending more than you’re bringing in, getting out of debt will always be a struggle. Understand the role that credit and budgeting play in your financial decisions and check with those you trust to ensure you’re making the right decisions for your lifestyle.