With more and more families struggling just to make ends meet, INSIDE EDITION got some practical tips from personal finance expert Terry Savage.
Tip #1: Get organized
Savage told INSIDE EDITION's Deborah Norville, "I find that a lot of people really don't know what they owe and what they own. They know they owe a lot of money on bills but they don't know the totals. This is the perfect time to figure out where you stand. My Personal Financial Organizer will help you figure that out. Not only your financial things, but things like your will, your living trust, your insurance policies, life insurance, and your healthcare power of attorney."
"If you can double the current minimum monthly payment and keep paying that same amount every month and not charge another penny, you'll pay off your balance in less than three years," said Savage.
"That sounds like a long time, but for some people that's a lot less than that thing they now put on the credit card statement that says you can pay it off in 37 years or whatever," said Norville.
"Exactly. If you're just making the minimum monthly payments, it could take you well over 30 years to pay it down because of the way interest builds up," said Savage.
Tip #3: Keep investing
"You can open up an individual retirement account. You can either do that at your local bank or brokerage firm or any one of the major mutual fund companies. That's a great way to get started. Nobody ever got rich betting against America," said Savage.
Tip #4: Try to refinance your mortgage
Savage said, "Check your credit report. Check your credit score. Go into your financial institution and see if maybe by stretching out the mortgage a few more years you can possibly lock in a fixed rate."
Tip #5: Avoid college debt
Savage said, "Consider a local junior college or community college for the first two years. I know you don't want them at home, and they want to get away, but that would save a lot on living expenses and tuition, and then they can graduate from a four-year college with that prestigious degree. Here's the thing about student loan debt. Unlike any other debt, you can't erase it through bankruptcy. It's going to follow you. And it'll follow you even when you're older. They'll dock your Social Security payments if you haven't repaid your student loans."
Click here to see Savage's Personal Financial Organizer.
For more information, go to terrysavage.com.