Not all debt is bad. In fact, taking out loans and using credit cards responsibly is how most people build credit to access low-interest loans in the future. However, a problem arises if budgeting is poorly managed or finances become tight.
In either case, it’s easy to slide further and further into debt with no clear path to financial freedom. Before you know it, you may end up with $50,000 in credit card debt, which can feel insurmountable. But instead of throwing up your hands, here are some tips for how to pay off $50,000 in credit card debt and get your finances back on track.
Tips for Paying Off $50,000 in Credit Card Debt
Unsure of how to pay down $50,000 in credit card debt? Here are some paths forward you may consider, depending on your financial situation and preferences.
1. Pay More Than the Minimum
If you only pay the minimum balance on your card each month, it will take you much longer to pay off the debt. That’s because you will continue to pay a high interest rate. If you can pay off more than the minimum and start chipping away at the principal loan amount, you’ll pay less in interest over time, and the debt will disappear faster.
2. Focus on High-Interest Debt First
High-interest debt is the most expensive, so you’ll save money if you can get rid of it sooner. Check your credit cards to see which one has the highest annual percentage rate (APR), and then pay that one off first. Then, use the amount you save once that card is paid off to work on paying down the card with the next-highest APR.
3. Pay Off the Card With the Lowest Balance First
A different approach to paying down credit card debt is to initially focus on the card with the lowest balance. This is known as the snowball method, and it can help you stay motivated to pay down debt when you see each card’s balance getting paid off one by one.
4. Review Your Expenses
You might be able to free up cash to put toward paying off your credit card debt by taking a close look at how you spend your money and perhaps creating a budget that’s a bit stricter.
A good place to start when looking for areas to cut back are monthly subscriptions that you’re not using or don’t need, such as streaming services or audiobooks. You might also consider whether you can change your lifestyle. Look for ways to reduce your expenses — perhaps you can eat out less, buy cheaper groceries, or downsize your home.
5. Use Extra Cash to Pay Down Your Debt
If you’re lucky enough to receive a bonus at work or an unexpected windfall, use it to pay down your debt rather than adding it to your spending pool. Also think about whether you could take on some gig work, which would allow you to increase your income temporarily while you focus on paying down some of your debt.
Debt Management Program
Another option you might explore to get a handle on $50,000 of credit card debt is a debt management program (DMP). Credit counseling agencies offer DMPs to help people better manage their finances through education and counseling.
These agencies are non-profit organizations that assign counselors to individuals who need help. The counselors provide advice and guidance, and negotiate with the client’s creditors to develop reduced payment plans. Creditors are eager to get paid back, so they’re usually amenable to lowering interest rates and waiving fees for clients who work with a DMP and show they’re serious about repaying their debt.
If you choose to work with a DMP, you’ll usually make a single monthly payment, which then gets distributed to your creditors. The DMP will lower the amount of interest you’re paying overall and remove late fees, which means more of your money goes toward paying down your principal. This translates to your debt getting paid off quicker.
There’s usually a fee for a credit counselor’s services, and you will be required to close all of the accounts under the DMP so that you don’t continue to rack up debt. Still, a DMP can help relieve financial stress since you’re taking concrete steps to improve your financial situation.
Credit Card Debt Forgiveness
Credit card forgiveness occurs when a creditor forgives you of debt. While this might sound like a surefire path to financial freedom, this is rare for credit card companies, and it usually comes at a cost. Instead, what credit card companies might do is agree to negotiate a settlement whereby you pay a portion of the amount you owe with penalties. If you’re three or more months behind and unable to catch up with payments, it’s possible to negotiate a settlement with a credit card provider.
That being said, a creditor is more likely to offer forgiveness right before selling your debt to a collector because they’ll have to sell the debt for less than the full amount you owe and lose money. Negotiating a settlement with you instead may minimize their losses. It’s even easier to pursue debt forgiveness from a debt collector because collectors can profit even if you only pay some of the amount you owe.
Note that forgiven debt is considered income by the IRS, so you will owe taxes on the forgiven amount.
Additional Options for Paying Off Debt
Other options for paying off $50,000 in credit card debt include taking out a debt consolidation loan, which is a common type of personal loan, or turning to a home equity loan or a balance transfer credit card.
Home Equity Loan
If you have equity in your home, a home equity loan might offer a lower interest rate than your credit card and provide cash to pay off some of that higher-interest debt.
However, you will have to factor closing costs into the equation. Also know that you’re putting your home at risk if you can’t stay on top of monthly payments.
Among the many common uses for personal loans is debt management and consolidation. If approved, you can use the funds you receive from a personal loan to pay off your credit cards. This will consolidate your debt, leaving you with just one payment to worry about each month.
Ideally, you’ll be able to secure a lower interest rate as well, which can offer savings. A personal loan calculator can help you determine if lowering your interest rate and monthly payments with a personal loan could help you save on total interest.
Recommended: Get Your Personal Loan Approved
With a balance transfer, you move your existing credit card debts to another card, ideally one that offers a lower interest rate. Some balance transfer credit cards even offer a temporary introductory APR that’s as low as 0%, though you’ll generally need solid credit to qualify for the most competitive offers.
Just note that a balance transfer fee will apply, so you’ll need to factor that into your overall costs. Also make sure that you’ll be able to pay off your balance in full before the introductory APR ends — otherwise, the interest rate could rise dramatically.
Figuring out how to pay off $50,000 in credit card debt can seem overwhelming. Luckily, there are a number of options at your disposal. You might try a debt payoff method like the debt snowball or the debt avalanche, or you might look for ways to cut back or bring in extra money to put toward debt payments. Seeking help through a DMP is another option if you’re struggling to get your financial life back in order.
Another possibility is consolidating your debt by taking out a personal loan. SoFi makes personal loans easy, allowing you to see rates in 60 seconds and offering perks like unemployment protection. Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000, and it’s possible to get funds the same day you sign – or you could have SoFi pay off your credit card directly.
Should I sign up for a debt management program?
Consider signing up for a debt management program if you feel overwhelmed by your debt. A credit counselor can consolidate your debts into one payment and simplify the debt repayment process, as well as offer general advice and guidance.
Should I seek credit card forgiveness?
Credit card forgiveness is rare to receive. However, you might be able to negotiate with your creditor to reduce the amount you owe, which can help relieve some of your debt burden.
How long will it take to pay off $50k in credit card debt?
How long it will take you to pay off $50,000 in credit card debt depends on the APR and the amount of your monthly payment. For example, assuming you’re not continuing to add to your debt, if you have an APR of 19.07% and make monthly payments of $2,000, it will take you 33 months to pay off your debt. If you were only paying $1,000 a month at that APR, it would take you 101 months.
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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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