$555,442.95 | The Long-term Cost of a $100/mo. Credit Card Payment

[pictured above:  looking up a rock wall to sunshine poking through the trees at Natural Bridge State Park]

The Spend | $100/mo. Credit Card Payment

Reports on the average amount of household credit card debt range from more than $5,000 to nearly $15,000. For the sake of ease, let's take a look at what a $100 per month credit card payment takes away from your retirement.

The Opportunity Cost | Retirement

Paying $100/month to a credit card company sucks. That's $1,200/year that you're handing over to a bank when you could be paying your future, more relaxed, more retired self. If you can manage making these payments, you can manage to save once you've eliminated them.

The Long-term Opportunity Cost | 30-year Value

So, what could that $1,200/year do for you in retirement? After collecting your tax savings of $516.25 and your employer's matching contribution of $858.12, that $1,200 that was going to a bank could turn into $2,574.37 of annual retirement savings.

Save and invest year after year, and in 30 years, you're looking at a pretty incredible $555,442.95! That's more than a half-million dollars created by saving a mere $100/month.

In stupid big letters, that's FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED FORTY-TWO DOLLARS AND NINETY-FIVE CENTS.

Becoming Debt-free

Look, if you're living with debt, make a firm commitment to get out of it - QUICKLY. The same simple strategies we write about here can be applied to eliminating debt. In fact, once we complete this retirement series, we'll illustrate exactly how much faster these strategies can get you to zero.

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[click to see the numbers]