Small Steps to Take Control of Your Debt

(ARA) Results from a recent survey indicate that 32 percent of Americans give themselves a perfect 10 in debt management. Thirty-four percent say having a budget and sticking to it is the tool they most likely would use to reduce debt.

While these findings confirm that many Americans have a good handle on their financial situation, the survey also revealed that 30 percent of Americans believe more debt management information would help them reduce their debt more quickly and effectively.

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To help fill this information gap, MasterCard introduced Debt Know How, a program to provide Americans with the tools and information they need to get out of debt.

At MasterCard, we have a long-term commitment to supporting the financial health of our customers and believe it is our responsibility to provide this service free to consumers, says Patrick Dwyer, vice president for consumer affairs for MasterCard International. Managing debt requires commitment and consistency, but taking small steps toward your goal pays offliterally.

Dwyer and other financial experts suggest consumers take the following steps to take control of their finances:
  • Assess your debt: Determine your total amount of debt. Compare it to your income and projected necessary spending.
  • Set a goal: Set a goal and prioritize your debt for example, pay off debt in three years and then break it into a series of smaller goals to help reach the ultimate finish line.
  • Track spending: Keep diligent track of spending and consistently look for ways to reduce it.
  • Prioritize your debt: Determine which is the most expensive, and pay that first.
  • Pay more than the minimum: For credit card debt, understand how paying more than the minimum can be a critical first step in reaching your goals.
  • Understand interest and late fees: Know what the late fees are on all of your debt. Try to avoid unnecessary fees, which only add to existing debt.

For additional information about how to manage debt and to access free, easy-to-understand debt management tools, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content