Dave Says: Paying off credit cards

Dear Dave,

How do you feel about taking money out of savings to pay off credit cards?

-Peggy

Dear Peggy,

I’m okay with this under two conditions. One is that you cut up the credit cards, close the accounts, and never use those things again. The second is that you don’t wipe out your savings in the process. Leave something in there, so you’re covered in the event of an emergency. Then, rebuild your savings as fast as possible once the debt is out of your way.

You have to understand, too, that credit cards aren’t the problem. The credit card debt isn’t the problem, either. They are just symptoms of buying things you don’t need, with money you don’t have, in order to impress people.

Take a long look in the mirror, Peggy, because the person who’s looking back at you is the problem. Overspending, disorganization, not earning enough … whatever label you want to slap on this situation, you are the reason for the problem. Once you understand and accept that, and you start living on a budget and staying away from debt, you’ll have taken your first real steps toward financial peace!

-Dave

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