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Experts Say Now's The Time To Pare Down Your Debt

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Now that the holiday spending season is over, credit card bills are coming in the mail.

Experts warn that interest rates are rising, so it's the perfect time to pare down your debt.

Inside the Mineola Luncheonette, most are avoiding the use of credit cards after getting the latest news. The Federal Reserve raised rates three times in 2017 and is likely to do a repeat in 2018.

In the near-term, higher interest rates will have an immediate effect on consumers with credit card debt, home equity lines of credit, and those carrying adjustable rate mortgages.

CPA Eliot Lebenhart says what goes up can go up even further.

"When interest rates go up you get more money on your money market accounts and bank accounts," he said. "You should shop that, because some banks are more competitive with interest rates. The negative is that people who are in the stock market with interest rate-sensitive stocks may find their stocks will go down."

Short term rates will go up, so certificates of deposit and annuities will have higher payouts by year's end. The downside? Lenders are likely to charge more for loans.

Long story short, it's time to start whittling away your debt. Some suggest comparison shopping for the best loan and deposit rates, not only on new borrowing and saving but also existing loans which can be refinanced and credit cards which can be consolidated.

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