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I'm a first-time poster here so forgive me if this is a FAQ.

I am 27 years old, have a full-time job, and make about $48,000. I currently have about $12,900 in credit card debt. A year ago I was at almost $17,000 and panicked. I was losing sleep over it and couldn't concentrate at work so I called a credit counseling service (Genus, formerly NCCS) and arranged for them to handle my three credit cards (Citibank Visa, Gold Mastercard, and Discover). While I wasn't past due on any of them, I needed to get out from under the debt just to keep me sane and this was the only way I could see to do this.

My monthly payment on the cards was $331 plus a $6 service charge for the counseling agency but I have since voluntarily moved that up to $500/month ($494 goes toward the cards). The weighted interest rate I'm paying is about 6%. At the current repayment rate I will be paid off by November, 2000.

I opened up a Roth IRA in April for the 1998 tax year with $500 and am contributing $100/month. This goes into a mutual fund with Fidelity's FundsNetwork. I also have a non-retirement mutual fund worth about $550 to which I am depositing $50/month thru automatic deposit from my checking account. I also have about $11,000 in workplace-based retirement accounts. Borrowing from it is not an option for reasons I won't go into. I am also fully vested in my employer's traditional pension plan and I have 6 years of service credit.

What I'm wondering is:
Am I better off redirecting the $150 I'm investing monthly towards my credit card debt? If I do that I will be paid off by May, 2000, and will save about $450 in interest. That works out to $3850 I would not be investing, assuming an 8% return, though that's the equivalent of 6 months payments of $650 anyway... I know there's a $2000 annual limit on the Roth IRA so that's a consideration.

Even if it works out to be break-even financially, I think it would be better to have the cards paid off sooner, even if it's 6 months sooner, so I don't have it hanging over my head and so I can start rebuilding my credit.

Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance.
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