Skip to content

Debt Management

Getting into debt is easy, but getting out is not. When considering new debt you have to think about the impact it will have on your present and future financial situation. Some questions to ask yourself are: Do I really need this loan? Can I afford the loan? How much will I pay in interest? Making smart decisions about debt management is essential to a sound financial future. Here are some tips to help you manage your debt:

  • Think before you borrow.
  • Know your options.
  • Consider student loans after researching sources of financial aid.
    • Borrowing costly alternative loans (private loans) without maximizing all of your federal eligibility can cost thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
  • Create a monthly budget and make a plan to reduce your debt.
  • Do not fall into the minimum payment trap.
    • Paying only the minimum payment lengthens your repayment period and increases the amount of interest you pay.
  • Establish a good credit history by always paying on time.
  • Borrow only what you need.
    • An easy way to keep your student loan debt at an acceptable level is to borrow the minimum you need to cover your educational expenses. Just because you are eligible for a certain loan amount does not mean that you have to borrow the full amount. You have the option to decline or reduce your loan eligibility amount.
Debt Management Methods

Snowball Method — Pay off debts from smallest to largest, regardless of interest rate.

  • Pro: Immediate feeling of victory
  • Con: You will pay more in interest compared to the debt stacking method

Debt Stacking — Pay off the debt with the highest interest rate first, regardless of amount.

  • Pro: You save money on interest payments
  • Con: It may take you a longer time to pay off debt compared to the snowball method
Identity Theft

Identity theft is using someone else’s personal information without their consent, usually for financial gain.

Among U.S. residents 16 or older, about 1 in 10 was a victim of identity theft in 2016, the latest year for which statistics are available, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. That’s about 26 million people.

If you have a credit card, your information is likely out in the post-data-breach world. In this new reality, it’s smart to take steps to prevent malicious actors from using your personal information and ruining your financial life.

Here are 10 ways to protect yourself from identity theft.

  • Safeguard your Social Security number
  • Strengthen passwords
  • Limit how much information you share
  • Watch the mail
  • Make liberal use of a shredder
  • Protect your mobile devices with passwords
  • Check your credit reports frequently
  • Monitor your financial statements

How to protect yourself against identity theft and respond if it happens.

For more information on identity theft go to https://www.usa.gov/identity-theft.

Debt Management Resources

If you are feeling overwhelmed with debt, try contacting your lender about repayment options, consider consolidation and/or contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. For online resources visit:

Last Published: Mar 1, 2019