BOSTON (CBS) - Oh, to be 30 again. but I would want to know then what I know now. My nieces tell me a big problem is living beyond your means in this decade.
So easy to do using credit cards. The lifestyle portrayed for a 30-year-old single is one of extravagance. Dinners out, clubbing a couple of nights a week, trendy clothes, gym membership and SUVs. Great vacations. Upscale apartments.
All of this cost the big bucks. And for the most part they got into it thinking they would be making more money next year or more with their next job and they will be able to pay off those credit card debts.
And worse they told me were the school loans. They told me of friends that had consolidated school loans wanting a lower payment and would be paying them off for many years.
So, living beyond your means leads to other money problems. The folks I spoke with cannot pay off their credit cards in full each month. The average interest charged is close to 16%, but miss a payment or be late and you could be paying 25% or more. If you only pay off the minimum each month and continue to use your credit card you will never get out of debt.
And if you do want to get out of debt it will take years only paying the minimum. For example, you have a $15,000 balance. You do not charge anything more and you have an 18% interest rate and you pay the minimum of $300 a month, it will take you 8 years to pay it off the balance and you will pay $13,000 in interest.
Do you see why the credit card companies are so happy to have you carry a balance month to month.
That credit card debt will affect you in many ways. If you want to buy a house or a condo you may not qualify for a mortgage. Auto loans may be a problem as well. And reaching your other goals may be impossible.
You can hear Dee Lee's expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.
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