As of the second quarter of 2016, the average US household that carried any debt owed $15,675 on their credit cards.
Though not all debt is bad — student, home, and auto loan debt, for example, could help you get ahead financially — credit card debt can ruin your credit score and affect your job, insurance, and real estate prospects for years to come.
But if you do find yourself slipping into the trenches of debt after an ill-advised shopping spree (or three) or an unexpected medical emergency that your “emergency” savings wasn’t equipped to cover, it is possible to dig yourself out.
In the latest edition of her book “Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance In Your Twenties and Thirties,” due for release in April, Beth Kobliner offers a handy chart for identifying the number of monthly payments you’ll need to kill your debt based on how much you’re paying each month and your interest rate.
Say you have $5,000 in debt and you’re committed to paying just 3% — or $150 — of that debt every month. If your credit card charges an annual interest rate of 14%, it will take you 43 months (about 3.5 years) to wipe out your debt. But if you up your payment to 10%, you can pay it off in just under a year.
Check out the chart above to find out how many months it will take to pay off your credit card debt.
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