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Take control of credit card debt

Many Florida residents and others around the nation use credit cards for emergency purposes or even for routine expenses. However, a recent survey showed that roughly 40 percent of consumers use their cards for a variety of non-essential expenses. The survey also shows that over half of the survey respondents carry a significant amount of credit card debt. Experts have offered several suggestions to break the cycle and get the debt under control.

Financial planners often note that many individuals often ignore the situation and resist discussing it. However, once someone acknowledges the situation, it is easier to make a plan to address it. Making a list of all the debt is a good place to start, including on it balance information, interest rates and minimum payments. Once the list is made, prioritizing the debts is the next logical step.

Many homeowners want to own their residence without debt, so they have a tendency to pay off a mortgage first. Industry experts recommend tackling high credit card balances initially. Mortgage interest is tax-deductible and is often considerably less expensive for a consumer.

A budget is a helpful financial tool for all consumers, especially for those who have credit card debt. Determine what expenses are essential, such as mortgage or rent, utilities or insurance. If there are annual expenses, these need to be budgeted on a monthly basis. Debt consolidation may be an option for some who wish to simplify the debt by bringing it into one payment. Finally, if at all possible, revert to a cash-only lifestyle until the balances are reduced or eliminated.

Credit card debt may feel overwhelming to many Florida residents. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help those consumers get back on track financially. An experienced lawyer will work with clients to fully understand their financial situation and develop a plan best suited to their needs.

Source: cnbc.com, "5 ways to get smart and avoid drowning in dumb debt", Andrew Osterland, Oct. 17, 2017

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