How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt


 Debt: the deep hole that seems so effortless to dig but impossible to climb out from.  With every new credit plan comes a barrage of danger for consumers already drowning in bills.  It’s a problem that millions of Americans struggle through every day and for many it seems that there is no end in sight.  The pile of debt can get so high that it’s hard to find a place to start, which is often times the most difficult step.  It’s similar to the people on those “Hoarders” shows, when every room is piled high with junk the task can seem too daunting to even begin.  Hours and hours of work hardly make a dent and progress is difficult to achieve.  But for those looking at an uphill climb out of debt, there are ways to make those first few steps easier, and more productive.

Once you have dug yourself out, don’t fall back in.  Often times, the freedom associated with people becoming debt free leads to the same habits and behaviors that caused the debt in the first place.

The first main process on the road to recovery is to recognize and break your bad habits.  There is no point in doing the work to get out of debt if you will simply bury yourself back into it in a year.  You need to take the time to recognize the spending behaviors that have caused the problem in the first place and work to break them.  Take a look at your budget for each month, and make more of an effort to live within it. One way to do this: stop using credit cards.  Consumers find it increasingly easy to mindlessly swipe their plastic through every register they see.  By limiting yourself to cash or debit accounts you will be more aware of your spending and unable to add to your debt problem in the process.  Once you have curbed the problem you are ready to begin your journey.

Read More

What the Heck Is a Reverse Mortgage?

Lately, you've likely noticed a glut of television, radio and even Web advertisements — many of them featuring well-known actors — all talking about a retirement and planning tool called reverse mortgages. Even its name is odd: What in the heck is a reverse mortgage, and should you bother to look into them? After all, these ads talk a great deal, but none really explain what the true nature of these products are. If you're close to your retirement or already in retirement, you may want to read on to discover more about these all-too-tempting sounding arrangements.


Overseen by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), these are loans against the mortgage principal, and a qualifying individual can elect to access this equity in a lump sum, a line of revolving credit or in monthly payments.

Read More

Should You Put Your Kids' Education ahead of Your Retirement?

If you're like most parents, you want nothing more than to provide your children with a college education. Some have been saving since before their children were even born, but more often than not, a substantial number of parents find themselves in the uncomfortable position where their kids are fast approaching college age, but they themselves are staring their retirement years right in the face. So the question becomes: Should you sacrifice your retirement savings to put your kids through school?


My parents worked hard their whole lives, but simply couldn't afford to pay for my college education. They taught me the meaning of money, and I knew I could take care of myself.

During a class I was taking this precise question came up.  The presenter reminded us that while college-bound kids can always get financial aid, there is no such thing as “retirement aid.”

Read More