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  • Writer's pictureJames Heinz

Answering Your Top 10 Debt Management Questions

Updated: Jan 20

Struggling with mounting debt? You likely have plenty of questions about the intricacies of debt management and the strategies that work. Understanding best practices provides a roadmap to follow so you can take control of debt and improve your financial health.

Below we answer the 10 most common debt management questions to equip you to make informed decisions:

Top 10 Debt Management Questions:

What is debt management?

Debt management refers to taking active steps to reduce and eventually repay money owed by following a strategic repayment plan. This involves tracking income and expenses, making a budget, consolidating debts when appropriate, employing methods to pay off balances faster, and modifying spending habits to align with financial goals.

How does debt management differ from debt consolidation?

Debt consolidation combines multiple debts like credit cards or store cards into one consolidated loan with one monthly payment. This can reduce overall interest paid. Debt management is a broader term that may incorporate consolidation while also including budgeting, credit counseling, increasing income, reducing expenses and repayment prioritization.

Will debt management hurt my credit?

Responsible debt management that pays at least minimums on time should not negatively impact credit. In fact, over time as balances drop, credit scores tend to improve. Debt consolidation may temporarily drop scores but leads to long-term improvement as fewer debts and lower utilization ultimately lift scores.

How can I start getting out of debt?

The first step is to track all income and expenses to understand debt management where money goes and identify waste. Based on earnings, build an affordable budget that cuts discretionary spending to put any extra towards debt repayment starting with highest-interest balances first through an “avalanche” method. Even small lifestyle changes make a difference.

Should I use a debt management company?

Seeking guidance from non-profit credit counseling agencies can provide structure and accountability. Reputable debt management companies offer lower interest rates and consolidated payments through agreements with creditors but fees do apply. Comparison shop to find an affordable, accredited option that puts your interests first if you need extra support.

What is the fastest way to pay off debt? 

Beyond the “debt avalanche” strategy that targets high-interest balances first, adding extra income dedicated solely to debt repayment helps eliminate it faster. Consider taking on a side job or selling unused items around your home to generate funds beyond your regular earnings to amplify payoff efforts.

How do I manage high-interest debt?

Credit card, store card or payday loan debt can have rates over 25% or more which keeps balances growing through endless interest charges. Transferring balances to lower-rate balance transfer cards, taking a personal loan at under 10% interest or consolidating debts reduces what you pay in interest substantially, saving money.

How can I estimate a payoff timeline?

List all debts by amount owed, interest rate and monthly payment. Make a simple debt repayment calculator using an Excel formula that adds interest and subtracts payments monthly to project how long it will take to eliminate each balance. Or use online calculators or apps to estimate timelines.

What spending habits contribute to debt?

Putting excess expenses on credit creates debt. This includes discretionary purchases beyond your means, buying depreciating assets like cars with loans longer than three years and financing lifestyle expenses that do not contribute to assets or income over the long term. Living beyond your means through debt accrues financial burdens.

How can I avoid debt troubles moving forward?

Once you have paid off all high-interest debts, only spend on credit what you can afford to pay in full each month while reserving debt solely for appreciating purchases like housing. Additionally, build up emergency cash reserves equal to 3-6 months of expenses so you can cover unexpected costs without returning to expensive debt products.

Escaping the cycle of growing debt is achievable with preparation and practical strategies. We hope reviewing answers to these top 10 FAQs empowers you to get your money and credit under control. Our financial experts at Shepherd Outsourcing offer complimentary debt analysis and advice with customized plans to fit your budget and goals. Contact us today to start improving financial health.

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