Thursday, December 16, 2010

Breaking free of debt before retirement

Debt is far more common amongst people approaching retirement than you may realize. While a lot of us have a mortgage to pay, there are also lots of other things - credit cards, personal loans, etc. - that can still be a real drain on your finances as you approach the end of your working life.

Carrying your debts over into retirement could be a real problem unless you're guaranteed a very good retirement income. As such, you should do what you can to make sure they're cleared before that time.

Ways to tackle your debts

Set yourself a budget
A lot of the time, when people feel that they can't get on top of their finances, it's largely because they're not organizing their money in the right way. A budget can be a simple but effective way of making sure you're keeping your finances under control.

To put together a budget, you'll need to make a note of all your regular monthly costs - things like your bills, mortgage and any other debts you may have. Now add up the total - this is how much you need to put aside to make sure your expenses are covered each month.

By doing this, you can ensure your debt repayments are covered, and you'll know how much you can safely spend on other things.

Make a few cutbacks
A budget alone probably won't help you repay your debts any more quickly. To try to make sure you're free of debt before you retire, you should ideally be repaying as much of your debts as possible every month.

Take a look at your finances: where could you cut back without significantly compromising your quality of life? The chances are there are a few things. For example, do you really need that magazine subscription? Could you switch to a cheaper internet provider? A few simple changes could potentially free up a lot of money to pay towards your debts.

If in doubt, get help
If you've tried all of the above and it still doesn't help you speed up your progress on your debts, then it may be time to get expert help help.

An expert debt adviser will have the knowledge to help you find the best way of tackling your debts. Whether it's general money advice or a more formal debt solution, they can help you decide on the right course of action. 

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