LAKE PLACID (FOX 13) - The crushing math of credit card debt has saddled a small Highlands County town with a life sentence of monthly payments.
A CardHub.com analysis of credit card debt data places Lake Placid in the bottom 20 nationally, meaning of the 2,457 cities analyzed, Lake Placidian's credit card debt is among the highest.
The firm says credit card debt for the typical person living in the city is $4,772. That cardholder will likely take 142 months (almost 12 years) to pay off.
And factoring in average credit card interest rates, someone paying minimum payments on that amount will actually pay $5,096 by the time their balance reads $0.
“As we enter 2016, many consumers will unfortunately be walking into a financial hailstorm,” Cardhub said.
Lake Placid represents much of middle America: high balances and low salaries that twist into a debt spiral.
It could be worse, though.
CardHub ranked College Station, Texas dead last. There, balances so severely outweigh payments that the analysis suggests a typical consumer will take 387 months to pay down their credit card debt.
The best city in the analysis was Cupertino, California. There, CarHub estimates the typical cardholder could pay down their balance in ten months. Seven of the top ten cities were located near San Francisco.
CHECK YOUR CITY HERE: http://www.cardhub.com/credit-card-calculator/
CardHub says most consumers grossly underestimate their credit card debt. And that only adds to the problem.
“Without an accurate knowledge of our balances, it's impossible to create a realistic credit-card payoff plan,” CardHub said.
We can recommend three options to help pay down credit card debt.
- CONSOLIDATE TO A LOAN
- You interest should be fixed, and so should your payment. You’ll erase your balance far faster here than keeping the debt on your card.
- BALANCE TRANSFERS
- Many promotional offers give applicants low interest rates to entice them. Grab one. Also keep your eyes peeled for zero interest deals.
- ASK FOR A LOWER RATE
- Call your credit card company and ask for a lower rate. The worst the can say is no. Also, if your rate is variable, request a fixed rate. Again, the worst they can say is no.