Get out of debt
Get out of debt

Credit cards are almost never "good" debt, yet professional and managerial workers -- who theoretically should know better -- still carry a median balance on plastic of $3,300, according to the Federal Reserve's most recent Survey of Consumer Finances. Even such a small amount can be deleterious, since you're paying around 15% in interest.

Three ways to get out of the red:

Just pay it off. Behavioral research finds, oddly, that people often save in cash while carrying credit debt. That's a -15% rate on credit vs. 0.13% on savings. See the problem? If you've got enough cash to cover the balance, use it.

Get a 0% card. Interest-free balance-transfer offers are back in a big way. If you think you'd be able to pay off your total debt within 15 months, get one of these cards, and bank what you would have paid in interest.

Break out the tools. Can't pay your debt in 15 months? Use the tools at creditcards.com/calculators to come up with an aggressive schedule to erase the debt. The sooner your IOU is wiped away, the sooner you're back on the wealth-building track.


By Carla Fried, Anne C. Lee, Elaine Pofeldt, Susie Poppick and Penelope Wang @Money - Last updated June 25 2012: 7:33 PM ET
Join the Conversation
Give your portfolio a major overhaul

These aren't just face-lifts. They're real renovations with the potential to significantly improve your returns.

Find Homes for sale
  • Property Type
  • Find a home in:
    New York | Atlanta | Chicago | Los Angeles
    Washington D.C | Houston | Philadelphia | More options

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.