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Reading The Fine Print: The Pros And Cons Of A Personal Loan

Finance

Many Americans are in a battle with their credit card debt and are stuck in a vicious cycle of seemingly never-ending payments. Holding large credit card balances, in which you may be struggling to keep up with, not only impacts your cash flow, credit score and overall financial health, it also can affect your physical well-being if it is causing you stress. While it may seem impossible to dig yourself out of all of this debt, there are ways you can conquer and win the credit card debt battle.


Taking out a personal loan can be a good way to pay off your credit card debt, but you should also be aware of the pitfalls. Here is some insight into understanding what a personal loan is, as well as the pros and cons that come along with it.

What Does it Mean When You Pay Off Credit Card Debt With a Personal Loan:

Paying off credit card debt with a personal loan typically falls under the category of a “credit card consolidation loan." Credit card consolidation loans are term loans in which the borrower will have a repayment plan, and the debt will be paid within a definitive time frame with a set interest rate. Having a set interest rate and time frame can be helpful in keeping track of how much interest you are actually paying for the duration of the loan as opposed to carrying credit card balances. Carrying a credit card balance each month could cost you more in interest than you may have anticipated if you only pay the minimum amount required.

"Consolidating your high-interest credit cards into a personal loan with a lower interest rate could save you a significant amount of money in the long run"

The Pros in Paying Off Credit Card Debt With a Personal Loan:
Obtain a Lower Interest Rate:

While it's not guaranteed, you may be able to get a lower interest rate than you currently have on your credit cards. Consolidating your high-interest credit cards into a personal loan with a lower interest rate could save you a significant amount of money in the long run. Having a fixed interest rate for the duration of the loan will keep your monthly payments the same each month and will help you better budget and keep track of you expenses each month.

One Single Monthly Payment

If you hold numerous credit cards with high balances, consolidating them all into one personal loan will give you a single balance under one interest rate. Not only does this make managing your credit card debt simple, but it can also help you keep better track of your finances as well as making on-time payments. Having a single monthly payment may be beneficial to those who may be prone to financial procrastination and have a hard time managing their finances. It could also be a good opportunity to “turn over a new leaf" and embrace financial literacy as well as embark on a journey to a debt-free life.

Quicker pay-off time

Unlike credit cards, a personal loan can be paid off in a shorter amount of time. Credit cards do not have a set repayment period. When only paying the minimum amount required on credit cards, you could be facing decades of payments, leaving you with double or even triple the original balance. Try comparing how long it will take you to pay off a personal loan as opposed to sticking to making monthly minimum payments. Making a comparison will be easy to do because every credit card company is required by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD) to have an explanation on statements as to how long it will take you to pay off the credit card debt if you just make the minimum payments. Having this information may not only be an eye-opener but can help you make your decision on opting for a personal loan.

The Cons of paying off credit card debt with a personal loan:
Interest Rate Could Be Higher

Typically the interest rates on personal loans are lower than the interest rates associated with credit cards. However, the interest rate you are given will depend on whether or not you have good credit. If your credit is less than desirable, then you may not getter a better interest rate deal. Even those who are considered to have good credit may not get an interest rate that would make sense to opt for a consolidation loan. It's always important to do your homework and make comparisons to decide what will work best for your individual financial situation.

Monthly Payment May Not Work Within Your Budget

You may very well be able to obtain a personal loan to pay off your credit cards. However, you have to make sure that the monthly amount fits within your budget. If you don't think you can swing the monthly payment on your current budget, see where you can make cuts to your expenses that will work and make sense.

If the payments are not affordable, then you may have to seek other options in paying off your credit card debt. For example, you may have to take on a side-job to bring in more income to pay more than your minimum balance or cut back on expenses such as dining out and cable bills.

"If your credit is less than desirable, then you may not getter a better interest rate deal. Even those who are considered to have good credit may not get an interest rate that would make sense to opt for a consolidation loan"

Fees May Be Involved

Before signing on the dotted line, make sure you read the fine print. Some personal loans may have origination fees that may add a substantial amount to the loan. Make sure that the fees do not outweigh the benefit of consolidating your credit card balances.

If you decide to opt for a personal loan to pay off your credit cards, it's extremely important to understand how you got into credit card debt in the first place. Get to the root of the problem, so it doesn't happen again. If your credit card debt was due to impulse buying and poor spending habits and you don't take action to correct the behavior, then taking out a personal loan to pay off your credit cards will only be a temporary fix. Create a budget to keep track of how much you have coming in vs. how much is going out for expenses. Whether you have credit card debt or not, Budgeting is a great tool for everyone, and by utilizing a budget, you will be on your way to a debt-free future!

Culture

Why Whiskey Should No Longer Be Categorized As “A Man’s Drink”

I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"


I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.

In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.

Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.

For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.

Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.

The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.

It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.

While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.

What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.

While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.