The holiday season is now behind us and many people are bracing for the daunting task of tending to post holiday bills. With clients already calling for help, attorney Leslie Tayne, founder and CEO of Tayne Law Group has a unique perspective on handling debt.
“Debt is a part of life,” Tayne said in a recent interview. “People have to learn to live with debt and make it work for them.”
As the author of Life & Debt, Tayne offers consumers helpful strategies such as creating a holiday fund, beginning right at New Year by putting away 5 percent of your net pay from each paycheck. If you find you have the ability to make greater contributions, try and increase, putting 8 to 10 percent of your pay into to the fund on a biweekly basis. “Once your credit card balance rolls in during the New Year, put more money towards the interest rate and consider making a biweekly payment to lower your balance. If you find you have leftover money, consider moving it to a ‘what if/emergency’ fund in case you incur any unexpected and/or emergency expenses this year,” Tayne advises.
Sounds logical, but Tayne says with the increasing cost of living, debt builds up easily and if you don’t know the ins and outs of debt management, then you are probably wasting a lot of money.
Most of Tayne’s clients are well-paid professionals with mortgages, car lease payments and even student loan debt. “That debt can become overwhelming when high payments leave no money left over,” Tayne said. “Many people think they need the expertise of financial investors to solve their cash flow problems and often when looking for help from family and friends end up back in the same situation. What you need is someone who is an expert with debt, knows the laws, knows how to negotiate with the financial institutions and knows the difference between government and private loan plans, especially as they relate to other debt a person may have.”
“When a new client comes to my office, they are usually ashamed of their debt, but I tell them, debt really is a part of life. It’s how you manage it that matters. In a short 30-days they are telling me they wish they had not waited so long.”
Tayne advises people to be proactive about solving their debt.
Explore free or low interest rate balance transfer credit cards for opportunities to transfer holiday debt balances in the New Year. Low or zero interest balance transfers can help streamline and manage debt since it allows the debt to be repaid monthly via one payment instead of having you divide payments among multiple credit cards – each of which would have different due dates and their own high interest rates. When opening up free or low interest rate cards, always be aware of their terms and conditions as well when their low or free interest periods will end for ensuring you are able to repay the debt before the low or zero interest period’s expiration.
If you’ve made your holiday purchases on multiple credit cards and cannot do a balance transfer, create a plan that will allow you to make large payments to one of your credit cards, preferably the one with highest interest, as well as one that will allow you to continue making minimum payments on the rest of your cards. As soon as you’ve paid off the first card bearing the highest interest, devote your attention to making larger payments to the next card with higher interest and continue on with this process until each card is paid off and you are holiday debt free.
Tayne Law Group offers help with credit card relief, student loan debt relief, small business debt relief, personal finance mediation, and bankruptcy alternatives. The first thing to do is pick up the phone for a free interview at 914-301-3300 to find out what solution might be the best for you.
“We do not charge like other lawyers,” Tayne said. “We don’t charge by the hour. We work out a plan with our clients. They pay us to pay their bills and we do the work to get them relief. That relief comes as quickly as 30 days.”