Here's Danielle Serino's 'One For The Money,' checking out everything from retirement rules to credit card debt. Take a look:
Doubling Down on Debt
Credit Card debt is one of the most taboo topics to talk about according to a poll by CreditCards.com. And that’s likely why most of us are not great at paying it off.
But here are some tips:
- Start with high-interest accounts. Make just the minimum payment on every debt "except" the one with the highest interest rate because that's the one costing you the most over time. Use the extra money you're no longer paying to the other debts, to pay off the high interest one. Then keep your debt-paying budget the same, just shift the biggest payment to the debt with the next-highest interest rate and so on.
-If the interest is the same on your cards, get rid of low balances first. Again, pay the minimum and knock off one after the other. It's actually a good motivator.
-But, if building your credit score is more important, pay off the larger balances first. Because part of your score is based on how much of your available credit you are using; meaning you don't want to be maxed out on any card.
Now of course, credit card companies won't give you these tips. They want to make the most money from you. But these aren't their only secrets.
-Everything's negotiable...even before you apply for a card. You can ask for a lower APR, or change your due date to fit in with your pay cycle. The only thing that could hurt, is asking for a credit line increase if you have a low credit score. The issuer might think you're becoming a risk. And you could end up with a credit line decrease.
-If you get several credit card offers in the mail, play them against each other--everything from asking one company to match the other one's APR or annual fee.
-And here's a beauty. You probably think you get your bill and have, let’s say, two weeks to pay it off before getting hit with interest. No. With some cards you'll start accruing interest on purchases as soon as they're posted to your account. So look your agreement.
Now if you follow those tips above, you'll be better poised for retirement. The question is when should you actually take the plunge.
The best age to stop working is 70…not a month or a year sooner according to CNBC finance expert Suze Orman. it comes down to the simple fact, you're probably going to live longer than you think. So here's how to prepare.
- Don't take Social Security until you’re 70 years old. Your annual benefit will be 76% higher than what you're eligible for at 62 years old.
- Lay out your retirement plan now. Even if you're self-employed you need Plan B.
Talk to your employer at least two years before you expect to retire on what a reduced job might look like. Suggest roles you can fill and ways to help out as you downshift.
-And for everyone, stop coasting. Doing just enough to get by puts a target on your head. Take advantage of any training opportunities to arm yourself for the inevitable. Or take classes online or at a community college to pick up news skills.