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DIY debt reduction

2008-08-19

With interest rates on the increase the buying power of ordinary South Africans has been reduced greatly. The current state of affairs is not conducive to South Africans acquiring more credit. So, what can you do about it?

Well, the wisest thing to do is to use any access cash to pay off your debt. This is the easiest way to start creating wealth and reducing financial stress!

South Africans spend 75% of their take-home paying off debt. That's money that should be going to build wealth so you can be financially free. Instead you're working for the bank and other credit providers.


How much does reducing debt really matter?

It matters a lot but don't expect the bank or the stores you have accounts with to tell you that. Why not? Because they are making their profits out of your interest repayments.

 But the reality is, if you repay a R600 000 bond over 20 years at R7 350 a month, your house will cost you R1 764 048. Whereas if you can repay an extra R2 650 a month, you save R674 026, which is more than your house cost! AND you'll pay it off in almost half the time.

The effect is even more dramatic on almost every other debt you have, especially your credit card, your personal loans, etc. This is because they cost you a lot more in interest (23% – 39% or more, versus about 14.5% on your home loan). But remember, you owe less on these loans, so you see results even faster. Now you see why it's so worthwhile.

What can you do about it?

A great deal! With a little dedication and planning, you can reduce your debts on your own. Credit Health shows you the tricks of the trade and the fastest way to reduce your debts on your own, in four easy steps.


Step 1: Evaluate your debts

List all your debts, so you will be able to get a handle on exactly where you stand. Make sure you avoid pitfall No.1: avoiding this exercise. It's the thought of doing it that puts people off – but the good news is, it's all downhill from here. Remember how much money you'll save and take action now – you'll never look back.

Go through all your statements from people you have accounts with and list your debts. Check your Credit Health Report™

in case there are any you've missed – who may be about to start legal action (which is costly and time consuming and definitely to be avoided). On a piece of paper, write down how much you owe, what interest rates you're being charged (NB because they vary from 11% to 40% or even more!), and the monthly amount due for each of your debts.

Remember to include your car loans, personal loans, micro-loans, overdrafts, credit cards, old debts, and any other debts you may have.Total up the list, to get a snapshot of all your debts. Shocked at the total? Don't worry! It's normal! And you're over the worst because now you know where you stand.

From now on, it's easier to get on top of the situation and free yourself from debt.

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