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Year after year, the two most popular New Year’s resolutions are losing weight and paying off debt. The interesting thing is that people know what must be done to achieve either goal: If you want to lose weight, you need to eat less and exercise more. If you want to pay off debt, you need to cut your everyday expenses and use more of your income to pay down credit card balances.
Whether losing weight or paying off debt, the tough part is repeating the same process month after month. That’s where a monthly plan can help anyone stay on track.
Starting a debt management plan
A debt management plan is a monthly repayment plan for paying down your outstanding debt. You can work with your creditors, directly or through nonprofit agencies that offer this type of assistance, to design a debt repayment program that minimizes monthly payments, interest, and related fees. This enables consumers to repay their entire debt obligation at more favorable terms and on a plan that is within their ability to pay.
Just like a plan for weight loss, a debt management plan takes time. The repayment period varies based on the amount owed and the repayment terms, but for most people the average plan is structured to repay debt in 36 to 60 months.
Many people make the choice to start this type of plan soon after the holidays—or any time that late payments have caused their credit card interest rates to soar. Consumers who develop a debt management plan often see interest rates on all of their credit cards drop to 6 percent to 10 percent. Lower interest rates can result in lower payments and can help cardholders repay their balances.
Are you a candidate for a debt management plan?
Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, so take action at the first sign of trouble. It can make the difference between a financial setback and a financial disaster.
TIP: Once you’re on a plan to pay off debt, consider checking your credit report to see the progress you’ve made.
Mechel Glass is the Director of Education for CredAbility. In this position, she is responsible for developing the curriculum and educational materials for online classes including webinars, podcasts, videos and listen-on-demand classes. She is responsible for managing the agency’s community outreach programs and staff, including financial education specialists in a 14-county area throughout metro Atlanta and north Georgia. She also manages the development and reporting of education partnerships online for the agency.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.