How 50-somethings can get serious about planning for retirement

Personal finance


If you have credit card debt, aim to get it paid off as soon as possible.

“Credit card debt is really an issue for many people,” Dougherty said. “It’s a pure cost, and it can be a high cost. And it’s a big impediment to being able to save.”

Right now, the average interest rate on credit cards is about 16.7 percent. That is more than three times the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage (4.7 percent) and five-year car loan (4.2 percent).

Even private student loans — which typically are several percentage points higher than federal student loans — are lower. Credit card debt also comes with zero potential tax benefit, unlike mortgage interest and student loan interest.

In other words, credit card balances typically are far more expensive than other forms of debt.

“There’s nothing wrong with taking vacations and buying gifts, as long you don’t use plastic to pay for it and pay a huge interest rate,” Dougherty said.

Your future self will thank you.

More from Personal Finance:
4 steps women can take to conquer the $1 million earnings gap before they retire
Even without a rate hike, the Fed’s stance on inflation means more bad news for borrowers
How the timing of your Social Security check impacts your financial health



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