Balance Transfers: Simplify Credit Card Payments to Reduce Stress

If you find juggling multiple credit card payments to be challenging, a balance transfer may be the first step to a better financial life. In addition to helping you simplify your record-keeping and budgeting, it may also help reduce stress and improve your mental well-being.

How Money Can Impact Your Mood

Financial issues (like having multiple credit card balances) can present problems for individuals and families, says Dr. Brad Klontz, founder of the Financial Psychology Institute and Associate Professor at Kansas State University. (But don’t worry, you’re not alone — 66% of Americans said they were losing sleep over at least one financial issue, according to a survey commissioned by CreditCards.com.1

“Money is the number one source of stress in the lives of three out of four Americans,” he says. “When we’re stressed, we are more vulnerable to engage in harmful behaviors in an attempt to manage the stress, including overeating, smoking, drinking, etcetera,” says Klontz. “Financial stress also causes relationship conflict, and is the leading cause of divorce in the early years of marriage,” he says.

Multiple credit card balances means more records to keep, more bills to pay, more time spent trying to stay on top of your finances, and ultimately, more stress. As the number of credit card grows, so do the number of payments,” says Klontz. “It also becomes increasingly difficult to track how much you owe and at what interest rates.”

Balance Transfers Can Boost Your Frame of Mind (and Save You Money)

Consolidating multiple balances on one credit card makes it easier to see your total credit card balance at a glance rather than having to keep track of different statements. And a balance transfer to one card means you’ll only have to schedule and record one monthly payment instead of many. Americans today lead busy lives, and it’s easy to overlook a credit card payment due date or two when you have several to make each month. Yet doing so repeatedly may impact your credit score. Transferring balances to one credit card helps reduce the likelihood of missed or incorrect/partial payments.

In many cases, you can get a promotional time-limited low interest rate for the transfer, which can save you money and give you the space you need to pay down your balance faster.

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Extra Steps

If you still worry about money issues after completing a balance transfer to consolidate your credit card balances and take advantage of lower interest rates, it may be time to seek professional help. According to Klontz, stress is often a signal that we are “in over our heads,”or a sign that we are lacking the knowledge or coping skills to deal with what we are facing.

“Regardless, it can important to seek the help, counsel, and advice of others to help equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to tackle the issue,” he says. “Approach the financial challenge as a household team and try to avoid finger pointing and blame. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, from an accountant, financial planner, credit counselor, or therapist.”

Sources:

Dr. Brad Klontz, Psy.D., CFP ®, Financial Psychologist, Partner at Occidental Asset Management, LLC, Founder of the Financial Psychology Institute, Associate Professor at Kansas State University, www.Occamllc.net, www.YourMentalWealth.com

1 http://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/financial-worries-losing-sleep.ph

Legal Disclaimer: The articles and information provided herein are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice. 

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