Should your client lose a few pounds? Cut back on the starchy foods? That would be an awkward subject to bring up. As their advisor, you face an even more awkward topic: The amount of debt your client is carrying around. According to the CDC, 71.6% of Americans are overweight, including 39.8% that are obese. According to, 189 million Americans have credit cards. The average cardholder has four credit cards. Each household with credit cards owes an average of $ 8,398.

Ten Ways To Tactfully Get The Message Across

Here are 10 concepts clients need to understand:

1. Temptation. “A second on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” Like weight, consumer debt is easy to add yet difficult to shed. According to, a person with a revolving charge card balance on a credit card charging 18%, making the minimum monthly payment, would need 30 years to pay off the balance on their card. It’s a dramatic statistic, easy to prove if they read their monthly statement. It should spell it out in black and white.

2. It’s hard to find a good rate of interest...unless you are a bank. Your client keeps some cash in bonds, certificates of deposit or money funds. According to, as of 5/12/20, the best rate you might find on a one-year CD is 1.6%. Meanwhile, according to, the average credit card interest rate in April 2020 was just over 20%.

3. Liposuction for credit cards. Assuming your client can still maintain an adequate cash reserve, the easiest way to earn almost a 20% rate of return is to use their cash to pat down that credit card charging 20% annually. Maybe they give up a 1.6% return on that CD, but they are almost 19% ahead of the game.

4. Get the weight off and keep it off. If liposuction is an extreme solution for losing weight, that person wants to keep the weight off. They discipline themselves. If your client used savings to pay down that credit card, they need to lock that card in a drawer and forget about it.

5. Weigh-ins and holding yourself accountable. One of the reasons programs like Weight Watchers works is because they featured scheduled meetings where you weigh yourself and track your progress. It instills discipline when you know you will be accountable. Your client should try to primarily use a credit card like the standard version of the American Express card. The balance needs to be paid in full each month. This type of card usually doesn’t charge interest if they pay the entire amount owed promptly.

6. Change your lifestyle. It’s extremely difficult to lose weight or keep it off when you hang with a group that goes out drinking every Friday. Since alcohol can go straight to your head, it’s joined by food, lots of chicken wings and other delicious, yet fattening appetizers. This adds huge amounts of calories and costs a bundle. Your debt-reducing client needs a different group of friends, folks who drink at each other’s homes, people who cook and share meals, not head out to restaurants. They need to surround themselves with people sharing the same goals.

7. Counting points. When fast food restaurants started posting the calorie counts on menus, people started thinking more carefully about how much they were eating. When you pay bills with a credit card, it’s not “real money” except that it is, once your monthly statement arrives.  Your debt-reducing client should shift to a cash-based system. Take out cash for the weekend, pay bills for drinks and meals with dollars. Being aware of what they are spending will help.

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