The 2016 presidential race is already underway, and while we’re still waiting to see if people get tired of Donald Trump, we might actually be able to learn a few personal finance lessons from the whole thing.
See, elected officials and candidates for elected offices need to submit a public financial disclosure report to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, which is an office I’m sure that most of us just learned exists (do you think they’ve heard about this whole Citizens United thing?).
Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and Republican candidate for President, released his financial disclosure statement yesterday, and it revealed a pretty sad fact: Walker is drowning in credit card debt.
According to his disclosure, Walker and his spouse have two credit cards with anywhere between $10,001 and $15,000 worth of debt on them. One account, opened with Barclay, has an interest rate of 27.24%. That’s really, really, really high. That means he’s paying at least $227.02 every month in interest fees and potentially paying as much as $340.50.
His other credit card, an account at Bank of America, isn’t so bad. There’s still a ton of debt on it, but the interest rate is set at the low rate of 11.99%. Interest on this account would range between $99.93 and $149.88.
Walker is stuck in a pretty bad spot. He’s paying hundreds of dollars in interest fees every month, none of which goes towards paying off the original credit card debt.
But it’s not impossible to get rid of credit card debt, and Walker has a few options, the easiest being a balance transfer to another credit card. One of the best is the Chase Slate card, which has a 0% APR for balance transfers for fifteen months. If Walker moved his debt to a Slate card, he could potentially pay off over $7,000 of his debt just by paying his normal interest charges every month. If you transfer a balance within the first sixty days of opening a Slate card, Chase will waive the balance transfer fee, saving even more money that can be used to pay down debt.
Other cards offer good introductory APRs on balance transfers, so if you have credit card debt you’re looking to restructure, do your research and pick the card that helps you pay off the most debt in the shortest amount of time.
Walker makes $222,899 annually from his job as Wisconsin’s governor. We don’t know what kind of budget he has, but we suggest that he takes some of the spending out of his and starts to employ the snowball method of getting rid of debt. It’ll make for an inspiring story out on the campaign trail, and if he doesn’t win the GOP’s nomination, he can always become a personal finance blogger.
Image: Gage Skidmore