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Methods for reducing debt

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Because a HELOC is secured by your home, interest rates are often lower than with credit cards, student loans, and other personal loans.

 

Ask for a lower interest rate

Depending on how long you've had your credit card, you might be able to call your card issuer and ask for a lower interest rate. While this is a more aggressive strategy that's not guaranteed to work, those with longstanding good payment histories could score a rate reduction.

If you're also considering a balance transfer, you can use this as leverage to entice your card issuer to extend you the same offer or reduce your rate. The worst that can happen is the issuer says no, and you're no worse off than you were before you asked. However, if you score the rate reduction, you'll be saving interest, and your monthly payments will go further toward reducing your debt.

 

Consolidate to save

If keeping track of multiple loans and credit cards with higher interest rates is a hassle, you might consider a debt consolidation loan. If a loan offers a lower interest rate than the debts you want to combine, you'll save in interest and gain convenience by having one easy monthly payment.

Keep in mind that consolidating debt can seem like a convenient option if you're currently making multiple monthly payments. However, you don't want to sacrifice savings for convenience. Only consolidate debts that are at an interest rate higher than a new loan.

 

Consider a HELOC

If you're a homeowner, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) could help you reduce your debt by consolidating your debt into a single, low-interest monthly payment using your home equity as collateral. Because your home secures the loan, interest rates with a HELOC are often lower than with credit cards, student loans, and other personal loans.

When reviewing a HELOC as an option, speak with a loan officer or financial advisor to see if this type of strategy makes sense to help you reduce your debt. You'll need to take into consideration your home's equity, how long you plan to stay in your home, the interest rate (and how it compares to your current debt), and the closing costs associated with this type of line of credit. All will have an impact on whether a HELOC makes sense to pay down your debt.

With the six strategies above, you now have more tools in your financial toolbox to help you reduce your debt and stick to your New Year's resolution of managing your finances better.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Katharina Buchholz, "America's Top New Year's Resolutions for 2020," Statista, published December 16, 2019, accessed November 9, 2020. Back
  2. Katharina Buchholz, "America's Top New Year's Resolutions for 2020," Statista, published December 16, 2019, accessed November 9, 2020. Back