The steep climb

Financial experts give their two cents on getting out of debt

The thought that many Americans are resolving to get out of debt this year is enough to make investment consultant Dean Brosious of LPL Financial Services chuckle.

"It's like losing weight -- it's an easy resolution to make but it's a difficult one to follow through on," Brosious said.

Why don't people succeed? Likely because they have to start pinching pennies, Brosious said.

He suggests a cold turkey approach to controlling debt.

"The easiest way to start on that process is stop using your credit cards and aggressively pay them down," Brosious said. "Never pay your minimum amount. Always pay more than that."

He explained that credit cards hold high interest rates, and if cardholders pay the minimum, it will take them longer to pay off their credit card debt than their home loans.

But for those ready to tackle their debt, Todd Young, president of First National Bank of the Rockies, said extra money should be put toward that goal.

"Because we're in a good economy right now, things are good," Young said. "Right now's a good time to work on your debt."

Young suggests looking into a home equity loan, which carries a lower interest rate than credit cards and could be tax deductible. Brosious encourages people to have no more than one credit card.

First National Bank of the Rockies also offers the following tips to help customers mitigate debt:

Live below your means

Decide where to spend your money

Pay your bills on time, every time

Set financial goals, both short- and long-term

Use credit only as a tool and use it with a plan.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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