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Pay down credit card debt

With student debt crossed off the list, the next logical step would be to prioritize paying off any other high-interest loans you’re carrying.

With inflation driving up the cost of everyday items, many Americans have been relying more on their credit cards to get by. Total household debt hit $16.51 trillion in the third quarter of 2022, according to the New York Fed — and credit card balances are increasing at their fastest pace in more than 20 years.

But so are interest rates. Credit card rates are now at their highest level on record, as lenders respond to recent Fed rate hikes.

Which means the interest you accrue from carrying a balance on your card is getting even more expensive. Clearing that debt sooner will help you avoid adding even more interest to your pile, and free up room for fun spending down the line.

Kiss Your Credit Card Debt Goodbye

Millions of Americans are struggling to crawl out of debt in the face of record-high interest rates. A personal loan offers lower interest rates and fixed payments, making it a smart choice to consolidate high-interest credit card debt. It helps save money, simplifies payments, and accelerates debt payoff. Credible is a free online service that shows you the best lending options to pay off your credit card debt fast — and save a ton in interest.

Explore better rates

Beef up your emergency fund

Once you’re back in the black, it’s time to make sure you’re ready the next time a surprise expense comes your way. Putting your spare cash toward some rainy day savings — especially in a volatile economy — can help protect you next time an emergency strikes, like a job loss or unexpected home repair.

Consider opening a high-yield savings account or a money market account. Just make sure it’s easy and convenient to withdraw money in a hurry.

That said, you’ll also want to practice some self-discipline, since this isn’t an account that you should dip into on a whim.

The general rule of thumb is to keep three to six months’ worth of expenses tucked away in your emergency fund — although personal finance personality Suze Orman recently revised her advice to 12 months in order to prepare for a potential recession.

Invest in the stock market

If all your pressing needs are taken care of, you might consider growing your money by investing it. That’s what 43% of respondents in the Intelligent.com survey plan to do.

Starting to invest early — even with small dollar amounts at a time — means you’ll get the benefit of compound interest, which will maximizing your growth over the long term.

Some investors may be scared off by the shaky stock market or fears of an upcoming recession, but many experts say now’s a good time as any to buy. When you’re investing for the future, this allows you to pick up stocks with long-term value while shares are cheap.

Look to diversify your portfolio with sectors that traditionally perform well throughout economic cycles, like health care, utilities and consumer staples.

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Serah Louis is a reporter with Moneywise.com. She enjoys tackling topical personal finance issues for young people and women and covering the latest in financial news.

Disclaimer

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