FROM TERRY SAVAGE: MAKE SURE YOUR MONEY IS WORKING FOR YOU, INSTEAD OF AGAINST YOU.

discard the evils of these cards.

Just as your money can work very powerfully for you if you make the right decisions and stick to a plan of regular investing, wrong money decisions put potholes on the road to success. The classic example is credit-card debt. An example: if a person who charges $2,000 on a credit card at 19.8% interest and a $40 annual fee. If you make only the minimum monthly payments (and many people do just that), it will take you 31 years and two months to pay off the balance! And along the way, you’ll pay an additional $8,202 in finance charges.

What could be so important to charge today that it puts you in debt for a period far longer than the object is likely to last? (Sure, a mortgage lasts 31 years, but the interest is deductible and your home should grow in value over that time period.) Most things you charge on your card have a far shorter useful life.

If you’re already in debt, you should know that if you would only double the minimum monthly payment, you could be out of debt in less than three years. Paying down current debt is the way to start on the road to building financial freedom.

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