Letter - How to keep more greenSaint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and legend credits him with driving all the snakes from that island. As a financial counseling director for Lutheran Social Services (LSS), it made me wonder, what are the financial snakes that families today need to drive out of their lives?
To the editor:
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and legend credits him with driving all the snakes from that island. As a financial counseling director for Lutheran Social Services (LSS), it made me wonder, what are the financial snakes that families today need to drive out of their lives? How is it that we all can “keep more of our green,” especially in tight financial times?
Many Americans today are carrying a credit card balance and making only minimum payments, and that means very little progress. Say, for example, that you hold a credit card with $1,000 balance and your annual percentage rate (APR) interest rate is at 24 percent. If you pay only the minimum monthly payment of $20, you will have debt forevermore!
Practice paying more than the minimums, and if you are making no headway, sign up for a debt management plan. Through such a plan, most creditors will reduce interest rates, allowing you to be debt-free within five years.
In 1996, historian Thomas Cahill wrote the classic book How the Irish Saved Civilization. If the Irish can save civilization, perhaps the rest of us can set aside money for emergencies.
It’s also true that, time after time, our financial counselors have worked with families worried by high debt levels who learned that their misery could largely have been avoided if they had set aside even a small amount in savings.
Get started now, even if it’s just saving change in a jar, or $10 each paycheck in an account. Don’t wait around for some leprechaun to appear with a magic pot of gold! Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by keeping more of your green.
St. Paul, MN
Editor’s note: LSS Financial Counseling Service is a member of the Better Business Bureau and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, the oldest and most respected credit counseling association in the nation. For more information, call 1-888-577-2227.