For most of us, some amount of debt is a fact of life. Whether a mortgage, student loan, or credit card bill, it’s important to stay on top of your debt obligations so they don’t get out of control.
Here are some things to remember as you manage your debt:
- Know your debt details. The first step in managing debt is to understand how much you really have. Get a complete picture of the balances you owe, the interest rates, and the payment due dates.
- Make payments on time. If you’ve ever thought it’s not a big deal to miss paying a bill by “just” one day, understand that creditors don’t see it that way. They see a payment made either on time or late (their systems don’t have a checkbox for being “just a little late”). If you miss making a payment on time, you can incur unnecessary fees and penalties. Even worse, this can hurt your credit score, so it’s important to stay on top of deadlines.
- Monitor your credit report regularly. You want to confirm that your debts are accurately reflected, and immediately investigate any items you don’t recognize.
When your debt is under control, you’ll be better positioned to pay it all off. Then you can work on the next important stage: setting aside funds for saving and investing.
The information on this page is provided for educational purposes only and is not tax, legal, financial planning or investment advice. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed in this section constitutes an offer to buy or sell any securities or advisory products. The information provided is general and is not information reasonably sufficient upon which to base an investment decision and should not be considered a recommendation to purchase or sell any particular security. You should not regard this information as a substitute for the exercise of your own judgment. Investing involves risk.