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What’s the Best Way to Get Out of Our Debt in Five Years? – Peter

“Dear Steve,

I have about $11,000 in credit card debt with APRs over 20%. My wife and I earn little income and are currently working on a mortgage modification for a lower payment. As part of our “get control of our finances” plan, we’re wondering what our best option (most affordable monthly payment, quickest way to pay off) is for the credit card debt.

With $11,000 in cc debt, what is the best option for the lowest monthly payment to pay off within 4-5 years? Please advise. Thank you.


Dear Peter,

Depending on your credit score, the best solution would be to get an unsecured fixed rate consolidation loan like those offered by The loan would be for three years and would be reported to the credit bureaus so it would resolve your debt situation and improve your credit at the same time.

The second choice, if you can easily afford the minimum monthly payments would be to click here for credit counseling information and talk to a credit counseling company about lowering your interest through a debt management plan. The downside to that approach is your cards would be closed and that can impact your credit report a bit.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.


  • The third option is to contact your CC company yourself. Have all of your monthly payments and income ready with you, and say you are having a hard time paying your bill bc of a change in income, or increase in bills, ask to talk to someone in their hardship program. Threaten that you will have to declare bankruptcy and they wont receive anything if they won’t deal with you. They will be a little rude at first, but in the end quite helpful. They will take all info, ask what you think you could afford, and with a little luck they will lower your interest rate to meet your desired payment or close to it.

    On this program, the card is not closed out, thus not affecting your credit score, you are put on a 4 or 5 year payment plan with the lower interest rate, and lower payment and you are not paying a credit counseling company.
    Credit Counseling company’s Debt Management Plans have prenegotiated interest rates set up with all of the credit card companies, so in a sense you are doing the same thing yourself, and with a half hour to an hour on the phone you dont have to pay a third party or close out the card, which is what hurts your credit score with DMP’s. When you get off the phone you will feel a weight off your shoulders. This does take a little dicipline, but worth it. It’s the only way I have found to not affect your credit score negatively, but get a lower interest rate and a 4 to 5 year payoff.
    Good Luck

    • I ended up with interest rates at 5% to 15%, down from 24% to 32%. In my eyes this is better than the Consolidation loan as well as the DMP.

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