Jewel Tankard Shares Money Lessons

Jewel Tankard, the star of Bravo’s latest hit series, Thicker Than Water, gives tips on money management and wealth building:

I typically take some time during the holiday season to reflect on where I am and need to be financially.

I am convinced that we can all do ourselves a favor and not use any of our credit cards unless we can comfortably pay them off within 30 days. Why? Because interest — the fees companies charge to use their money —will push us backward financially. Call your credit card company and ask what interest rate you are paying. You may be surprised to find out it’s anywhere from 5 percent to 30 percent, depending on your credit score.

So what do I suggest? Use cash to buy gifts! You may have to find a lower price point to bless your loved ones with in order to accomplish no credit card debt, but it pays off in the long run. Getting out of the debt cycle is an essential component to living a happy life. Debt can cause depression, self-esteem issues, stress in your marriage, and with your children. As you work toward debt freedom, you want to make sure that you are moving forward only. If not, you will tell yourself, “I will pay it off in January” every year, while your credit card balloons— and your credit score plummets.

Though credit card debt seems like a small piece of your finances, it can become very taxing on your overall portfolio, particularly in retirement. Paying pay off big debt, such as mortgages, car loans, credit cards or student loans is key to comfortable living. As a community, we must change some of the bad spending habits we’ve embraced as unencumbered consumers. Strategy is key.

The most important thing during the holiday season is to take this time to celebrate family and friends that have been a support to us over the years. Also, take time to reflect on the goodness of God in your life and assess where you are financially, along with where you need to be. I suggest getting a financial mentor and advisor to help you make solid financial decisions and map out a solid game plan. Whether 2013 was a great year for you or a hard year, I think we can all agree that setting yourself up to win in 2014 is very important. Do not just depend on what you know anymore, but develop that team that will help you thrive, not just survive. Until next time…

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