AK Wants to Use His Credit Cards to Consolidate His Debts


“Dear Steve,

My debt ratio seems high to me and I am thinking about using my credit card to consolidate my debts. I also, need to know how long to keep statements. I want to reduce clutter, but am not sure if I should keep bank statements and other statements since I do online banking and statements.

What is the easiest way to consolidate my debts? How long should I shred old paper statement for credit accounts and bank statements?


Dear A.K.,

I had to read your question a couple of times to make sure I understood exactly what you meant. Really? You want to use your credit cards to consolidate your debt?

I think what you are trying to do is to payoff other smaller debts that you might have by doing a balance transfer to a new credit card. But if you are thinking about paying off some debts by writing cash advance checks from a credit card, that is financial suicide. Don’t do it. If you do I’ll have to hunt you down and personally kick your ass.

It is one thing to consolidate your debts by rolling them all into a credit counseling or debt management program. Using that approach your debts are not paid off but the debt management company will make the payments for you, often reducing the interest rate you pay. While you make one payment to the debt management company, there is no actual consolidation of the debt onto one financial instrument. If you would like more information about this credit counseling debt consolidation approach, click here for debt management information.

Regarding your statement issue, check with your creditors to find out which ones offer online access to your statements. In fact I don’t even get paper statements anymore and if I need to reference something or get a copy I just go online and print it. Last time I checked the IRS said you need to keep records for seven years.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.
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