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A Debt-Free Philosophy An unmanageable load of personal debt can create a long-term nightmare. Here's a look at some smart methods for getting out from under it.

By Rosalind Resnick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As business owners, we like to think we're pretty savvy about using loans and credit lines to finance our receivables and boost our companies' working capital. But as consumers and homeowners, we're not always so disciplined.

"As you accumulate debt, you eventually reach a point where the monthly fees and interest become larger than your ability to pay," says Stephen Craig, a bankruptcy attorney and founder of Trident Debt Solutions in Denver, which specializes in alternatives to bankruptcy. "It becomes a weight that you carry with you everywhere you go."

What's the solution? Reduce your overhead and adopt a debt-free lifestyle. Pay down your credit cards and limit yourself to a reasonably sized mortgage or student loan that you can handle. "Credit card debt is problematic when you can no longer make a monthly payment of at least 3 percent or more of the debt," Craig says. "To get rid of $10,000 of credit card debt, plan on paying at least $300 to $400 a month until you are debt-free."

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