How to control your debt and improve your credit

Carrying large amounts of high-interest debt cuts into your ability to save to meet other needs. On the flip side, keeping debt in check and ensuring that your credit score stays solid makes many things easier, including getting a job, a loan or even insurance.

Many American adults struggle with debt. NerdWallet reports that of households that carry debt, the average amount owed on credit cards tops $16,000, while the average mortgage debt stands at about $155,000-plus. At the same time, recent reports on retirement readiness have sounded the alarm that debt levels for older Americans are increasing, putting these people’s retirements at risk.

Don’t let debt get out of hand

Debt hurts your financial security in two ways. It’s obvious that it slows down your accumulation of wealth for retirement. But what may not be as easy to see is that by building up debt, you get used to an inflated lifestyle — and that makes it even harder to change your behavior when you commit to paying it off and living within your means.

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