Credit Cards and Savings Accounts

I was struck by the following sentence in this article from the New York Times:

A good indicator that things are going in the wrong direction, he said, is if your credit card balance has been rising in the last year but your savings balance has been falling.

Is there ever any reason to not use whatever you have in a savings account to pay off credit card debt? You’re making maybe 5% interest on your savings and paying probably 15% interest on the credit card debt. If you need cash in an emergency, you could get a cash advance from the credit card, but it seems to make sense to me to use whatever money you have to pay off the credit card–then start building savings.

I have to admit that my first thought on reading the sentence was that the New York Times wouldn’t say “just pay of the credit card debt first” because they run ads from the credit card companies. Or maybe my knowledge of personal finance is lacking.

(All of that said, I suppose the sentence is technically true.)

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1 Comment

  1. i think it might be easier to be understood in the context as it’s following “Are you having trouble keeping up with your debt payments? Are you relying on debt to keep up with your lifestyle?”
    relying on debt to keep up with a certain lifestyle caused the rise of credit card balance,and a falling in savings balance simply means u paid more, not matter it’s for consumption or debt repayment.the rise-and-fall thing indicates a bad situation.
    so i don’t see any clue on whether or not “just pay off the credit card debt first”,it’s talking about lifestyle i suppose.

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