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While we all strive to be debt-free, the reality is that most people in modern society have credit card debt. It happens for many reasons, often beginning slowly and insidiously increasing until we feel we are under a mountain of debt.  Perhaps we borrowed for ‘good’ reasons, such as to help with school or moving expenses, or perhaps the expenses were justified so long ago or so often that we honestly don’t remember anymore.

Sometimes we feel we can handle it, and congratulate ourselves for paying more than the minimum every month. The truth is, however, that unless you are paying off your credit card debt IN FULL every month, you are racking up debt – putting your hard-earned, after-tax dollars into someone else’s pocket, causing your original purchases or relief to cost you potentially many times over the original amount over the years. Money that could and should be earning interest FOR you is, instead, a lovely and healthy asset for someone else.

At this point in the debt cycle, many people feel overwhelmed and do one of several crazy things: they begin spending MORE, feeling things are hopeless and why bother worrying about it; they stop caring or get in over their heads and begin missing payments; or they consider bankruptcy.

Warning! All of the above options may feel good in the moment, but all have disastrous effects on your credit rating, which, even if you don’t care about it now, will indeed cause you to feel regret and remorse when the consequences hit home some day in the future. Instead, consider the following to stave off disaster while you re-group and form a proper plan to get yourself through, and hopefully to put yourself firmly on the road to financial health and even independence:

TIP #1: Speak to your banking institution/s. Honesty and open communication is the best policy here, as getting to know a friendly face at your bank can make all the difference in how your accounts are handled. Considering debt consolidation? Start with your bank, for a couple of good reasons: your bank is a known, trusted entity (even if you don’t agree with all their service charges), and may offer you lower rates because of your existing customer status. Also, a loan from a bank actually improves your credit rating, whilst a similar loan from a debt consolidation company can actually have the opposite effect in some cases.

TIP #2: Call your credit card companies, again with the goal of keeping open communication. Speak with as many people as you have to in order to negotiate either a lower interest rate, lower minimum payments for a set time, or some other compromise. Remain calm and professional, and remind them that you wish to continue fulfilling your obligation. You may also ask them for any ideas they may have, such as alternate cards with less frills but an accompanying lower interest rate.

 TIP #3: Consider credit counselling, but only from reputable providers. Many companies in this line of business actually take shameful advantage of the desperation of their clients and pull some not-so-funny tricks. Try your bank for referrals of above-board credit counselling – they may even offer in-house help in sorting out your difficulties. You are not the first nor the last to be going through tough economic times, and most banking institutions are deeply concerned as well. Many are making efforts to comfort and help their customers and to ensure both the customers – and the banks themselves – will be around and in healthy financial condition for years to come.

Above all, remember that you are not alone and do not panic. People make strange financial decisions when they are afraid or overwhelmed, and once the air clears they may regret actions they cannot undo. Your thoughts are very powerful, and can deeply affect your behaviour and decisions about all things financial. For an enlightening look at how your mindset affects your finances – and how to improve what is called your ‘financial mindset’ – along with bonus material which deals with keeping your peace of mind during these turbulent times, improving your credit rating and more, you may find the popular ’30 Days to Wealth’ program a valuable tool (this is now available in instantly downloadable e-book format for those who do not have access to or time for the course).

Shauna Arthurs is an author and creator of a network of websites and blogs, specializing in helping people define and articulate their dreams – from financial independence to a satisfying career – and take the steps necessary to achieve them. Enjoy more information and resources at Shauna also writes about niche topics for her clients and her own sites, such as sleeping pads.

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10 years back, I was one of most excited kids on the block. Why? Because Citibank had just delivered me my first credit card. Boy, was I on top of the world! I had already planned out well in advance on how I would spend that money. And being frugal was not part of the plan at all. Little did I realize the debt trap (read that as deathtrap) I was getting into. It was just a matter of 3 months before I maxed it out. But guess what, by that time another bank took it’s turn in serving me up with another credit card. Life was good, or it surely seemed like that.

It was not until 2 years after that initial credit card purchase that I realized my folly. I was deep in debt with 3 maxed out cards. Struggling to pay off the cards out of my paycheck, life became uninteresting. I vowed to be debt-free and took it as my personal mission. The result? After 6 more years I had 7 maxed out credit cards and a huge personal loan to pay off (which by the way I had borrowed to pay off my credit card debt).

Have you gone through such a situation before? I am sure most of you have. I had gone numb with desperation to get out of this cashflow draining hole. After searching fervently for answers, I finally found one which I hoped would stick. I tried it and it worked! At the time of writing this article, I have managed to pay off two credit cards and well on my way to clear the rest completely. How did I do it? Read on to find out how.

One of the dilemmas that you may have is which card to pay off first. Many people advised me to pay off the one with the highest interest rate, as that drains you the most. I tried that method and failed miserably. You can see I went from 3, to 7 maxed out cards using that technique. The successful method that I came across was something that Robert Kiyosaki and Kim Kiyosaki had used to pay off their debts when they were 0,000 under. It had worked for them, so I decided to try it. It did work, in fact, it worked like a charm. Here’s the key philosophy behind this technique: Focus on time, rather than money.

Follow these step-by-step procedures to get out of credit card debt (see the illustration for better comprehension):

Take a sheet of paper and on top left side draw a quadrant
In the top left part, write down the name of the credit card (e.g. Citibank Gold)
In the top right part, write down the total amount outstanding (X) (e.g. ,000)
In the bottom left part, write down the minimum monthly payment required (Y) (e.g. 0)
In the bottom right part, divide the total outstanding (X) by the minimum payment (Y). Write down that number up to 2 decimals (Z) (e.g. 24)
Do the same exercise for each of the other credit cards that you want to eliminate, on the same sheet of paper
Now compare the ratio (Z) among all cards, and write down ‘#1′ against the quadrant having the lowest ratio (Z)
Proceed to the next card with the next lowest ratio (Z) and mark a ‘#2′ next to it
Continue doing this in ascending order for the rest of the cards

Once the above exercise is done you should have a complete overview of all the credit cards’ status. Now comes the most important part about how to pay these off. Follow these step-by-step guidelines.

The first card you will target is the one marked ‘#1′. Basically, this is the one which can be paid off soonest (Remember the philosophy? Focus on time, not the amount)
Pay off as much as possible more that the minimum payment due on this one. For example: If you have 0 to spare and the minimum payment is only 0, credit the full 0 towards the card #1. Note: Keep paying ONLY the minimum amount due for the rest of the cards. Don’t give a dime more than the minimum. Not just yet.)
Keep doing this month after month all the time focusing on paying as much as possible towards card #1, all the while paying only the minimum due for the rest
Once you have paid off the card #1 in full, then strike off that quadrant from the sheet of paper with a red pen.
Go off and celebrate to mark the success. Go for a movie, party, basketball game, etc. (Don’t use the credit card though). It’s very important to celebrate as the positive emotions then get linked to closing down of the credit card in your subconscious mind. This will help you psychologically to keep moving to pay off the rest.
Next is to target card #2. This time round, also use the money that lies spare every month from the payments that used to make towards card #1. So now you have lot more money to throw at card #2. Remember to keep paying the minimum due only towards the rest
Once paid off, strike it off your sheet and celebrate
Keep doing this on each card, proceeding as per the sequence listed on the sheet

If you keep following the above method, I guarantee that you will pay off your credit cards in record time. It’s all about focusing your energy on one card at a time. That is the secret. Jim Rohn once said, “Time is more important than money; you can always get more money but you can never get more time”.

God Bless.

John Bino is an entrepreneur and success coach specializing in helping fellow entrepreneurs and the community at large to realize their true potential. His mission is to help people become more valuable to their family and the marketplace.

For more information on John Bino or to contact him, go to either his blog or to his business website


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Want to know how to eliminate credit card debt legally? Easy.

Pay off the balance.
OK. All joking aside, I think it’s pretty obvious how to eliminate this debt legally. But when you involve multiple cards, different balances, and various interest rates, it can get a little confusing on what approach to take. We recommend these steps:

1. Do not close any credit card accounts!
Closing your credit card accounts can hurt your fico score…and quite dramatically. When you close an account, you lose all the credit history behind that card. No credit history is only slightly better than bad credit history.

Keep all major credit card accounts open so you can rebuild your credit. However, an exception to the rule is to close all retail account cards (i.e. Best Buy, Victoria Secret, Sears, etc.). This will actually help your credit.

2. Cut up all cards but two credit cards.
Ensure that the two cards you have intact are major credit cards (i.e. American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.) From now on, all future charges are to be made only on these two cards. Every month, pay off the monthly activity on your primary cards in addition to the minimum monthly payment. This gets you into the good habit of paying off the monthly activity.

Which cards you choose for your primary charges is up to you. You can base it on interest rate, rewards, vendor acceptance, or any other factors.

Now, if you cut your other cards, be sure to have the account information on hand somewhere else. (You really don’t have to cut them up…unless it just makes you feel better.)

3. Focus on the card with the highest minimum monthly payment.
Dave Ramsey says focus on the card with the lowest balance and pay it off first. Others say to focus on the card with the highest interest rate.

But remember, the name of the game is cashflow. So, I suggest focusing on the card that has the highest minimum monthly payment. I think it’s best to put your attention on the card that is affecting you the most in your monthly cashflow. Get rid of the liability that’s taking the most money from your pocket.

4. Find 0-0.
Now, I don’t mean go look for loose change in your couch. Find 0-0 in your budget (or adjust your budget to make it available) and put it towards the card with the highest minimum monthly payment found in step 3. This is to accelerate paying off this credit card. But don’t forget about the other cards. Continue paying just the minimum balance on them.

Of course, if you can always put more towards the payment. The more the better.

5. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Once you have paid off the card with the highest minimum monthly payment, you’ve just learned how to eliminate credit card debt legally.

Now, move onto the next card that has the highest minimum monthly payment. To that card’s payment, add the amount that you were paying on the previous card. Repeat this process each time a card is paid off. This is often referred to as the snowball technique.

6. Pat yourself on the back.
Be patient for this can be a long process. Celebrate each time you accomplish paying off a credit card. Whether it be a pat on the back or a nice dinner, congratulate yourself because working to eliminate credit card debt legally isn’t easy.

Remember, once you’re done, do not close any credit card accounts!

Part of developing your millionaire mindset is taking accountability. If you got yourself into consumer debt, you should be the one to work to get yourself out.

Believe you are able to do it. Once it happens, you have developed the dis

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