DEBT DETOX: How to do a financial cleanse - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

DEBT DETOX: How to do a financial cleanse

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MERCER COUNTY -- If you had a New Year's resolution, now may be the time for a reality check. Hopefully you're doing well shedding those unwanted pounds, but have you thought about your unwanted debt? We sought tips from an expert to learn the best recipe for a debt detox.

"It's just a choice that you make and it usually comes with sacrifice, as most good choices do," said Kevin Davis, a Certified Financial Planner with First Sentinel Financial Services.

It's a choice Kathy Rahall made when she started Beauty Concepts and Day Spa 20 years ago, and one she says has paid off. 

"It's always been a priority to me," said Rahall. "Like with my children, instead of talking to them about the birds and the bees, I talked to them about credit."

Rahall says the business began in a single-wide trailer and grew into a 4000 square foot building with 15 stations.

"When I would sleep and stuff, I would dream about having my own business, so I was very driven with that," explained Rahall.

She said the biggest mistake is going all in.

"Like my desk right now, I had that in my single-wide trailer," she said. "I just had it re-covered. So I don't ever get in to where it's over my head."

Most people agree that's easier said than done, but Financial Planner Kevin Davis says it is possible to dig your way out. He suggests paying the smallest debt first, then using the money you recoup to apply on paying off the next.

"First quit adding to your debt," said Davis, "and then set a budget that you can pay down or even pay off your debt."

And when it comes to lowering debt in  marriage, Davis recommends thinking of it like a business plan.

"It's extremely important that I tell them they should have a business meeting," he said. "In fact, it probably shouldn't be at home. They should meet at a restaurant, sit across from each other at a table and have an actual meeting with a written plan."

In addition to a hard copy, you can create a spreadsheet on your laptop, or go online. Apps are available on your tablet or mobile phone at no cost to make sure you're staying on track. Davis says it doesn't matter the form, as long as it's a deliberate plan.

"People think that life happens and if you just do the right things, things are going to work out," Davis said. "But to be honest, in finances, you should be deliberate."

According to Rahall, the effort pays off -- especially when you realize you don't have to rely on anyone else. She says credit can be your best friend.

"If you have good credit, you can get money any time you need it," Rahall said. "You don't have to depend on another person, you are that person."

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