minimum payment on that debt, it will take 28.6 years to pay off and will cost $4,172 in interest (calculated on an interest rate of 17.99%). Merely one late fee of $29 will add an additional 21 months and $350 in interest to the debt.
“For people carrying a balance, if you have the cash, pay it off. If not, just try to become more aggressive in paying off your debt,” says Kidwell. “Our Debt Eliminator Report is excellent and we also have an online calculator.” To assist consumers in paying off their debts easily, Myvesta.org (www.myvesta.org) a custom Debt Eliminator Report for about $25. It provides a step-by-step plan to help accelerate the rate at which debt may be paid off.
“We specialize in helping people who are really in debt,” says Kidwell. “Every person in debt is suffering from some type of depression. Debt is one of the leading causes of divorce, lack of sleep, and poor work performance. It is truly one of the deep dark secrets that people have. It robs them of their self-worth and keeps them from achieving dreams.”
Seek professional help. Find someone who is knowledgeable in financial matters and ask him or her to assist you in achieving the financial freedom they enjoy. You may not know the best way to pay off your debt or lack the motivation to do so. That’s where the professionals come in. Debt-counseling organizations such as Consumer Credit Counseling Services offer free services that include showing you how to create a budget, helping you to set up a payment plan with creditors, and negotiating lower rates on credit cards.
But before you contact anyone else, though, order your credit report to see where you stand. The three main agencies are Experian (www.experian .com) at 888-397-3742, Equifax (www.equifax.com) at 800-685-1111, and Trans Union Corp. (www.transunion.com) at 800-888-4213.
Books and newsletters are helpful as well. Hunt, who has been publishing the monthly newsletter Cheapskate Monthly (www.cheapskatemonthly.com) for nine years, has seen people come out of debt only to go right back in. She focuses on teaching people how to remain debt free. “You should live in a such a way that you are constantly prepared for the unexpected, like getting the car fixed and buying a new refrigerator. To me, that is the essence of debt-proof living.”
Scarborough, who is married to Kenneth and has a 2-year-old daughter named Desiree, is proud of her decision to change her spending habits. “It was a joy to become debt free. I invest in my 401(k), am working on putting money in my savings, and have goals in terms of buying a home,” she contends. “But I was also fearful at first because I wondered if I could remain debt free for the rest of my life. It was kind of like being an addict. That was 14 years of being in debt. Through spiritual growth, I came to realize that we have a responsibility to ourselves and family members to be in positive financial situations.