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 Assess your money situation
To get rid of debt and get yourself on the road to repayment, Jean Chatzky, David Bach and Glinda Bridgforth all agree that it is crucial to know how much debt you're carrying and at what interest rates. Pull out all your bills and write a list to determine how much debt you really have. Once you know your total debt, you can start paying it down!

It's very important to know your credit score. Once you start paying down your debt, your credit score will rise. A higher credit score means lower interest rates.

You can get one free report each year from each of the three credit bureaus—so three total. The smart thing to do is to get one every four months, that way you can make sure (for free) that you haven't been a victim of ID theft. To get a free report, go to the website set up by the Federal Trade Commission, annualcreditreport.com.

If you can't get a free report, buy one from one of the three credit-reporting agencies:
  • Equifax: 888-766-0008 or equifax.com
  • Experian: 888-397-3742 orexperian.com
  • TransUnion: 800-680-7289 or transunion.com.
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Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.

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