Marriott Alumni Magazine

Fall 2015

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Page 9 of 51

2. Driver's seat Managing car-loan debt starts before you leave the dealership. Stick to your budget no mat- ter what the salesman says, and be wary of loans that will leave you upside down (owing more than the car is worth). Avoid getting stuck in a lengthy loan— pay it back within forty- eight months. 2 1 at Four-Letter Word Debt: it's a financial swear, and its influence reaches almost everyone. As if continually heralded by fluorescent warning signs, we're counseled to "stay out!" But we're not heeding that advice: American consumers collectively owe more than $11 trillion. Dealing with debt responsibly can help you avoid unrelenting creditor calls and financial pitfalls. Take control of your debt and manage it wisely with these seven tips. 3 1. map it out Only 32 percent of American households make a monthly bud- get, even though that's the best way to avoid falling into consumer debt. Gather statements and track the money going in and out of your accounts using a free internet service like Mint or PocketSmith. There you can monitor your cash flow, establish appropriate goals, and make needed behavioral changes that help keep debt manageable. around the COOLER BY KASEE BALdWiN BAiLEY 8 MARRIOTT

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