Debt smart

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By Scott Bilker

Hi Scott, I need some very expensive dental surgery and work. Here’s how the numbers look: In May, I will have two dental implants installed for a total cost of about $5,130 (that’s $5,400 minus a 5% “discount” for paying in full at the time of surgery; alternatively you can pay for the surgery over 90 days). This will be done by a specialist. I might get a few hundred dollars from insurance for this, but let’s assume not (implants are not covered, but bone grafting is).

Next January, I will have a bridge installed for about $3,500 (after insurance). It is possible that for tax reasons, I may have this work done in this tax year. Though I can raise the cash, I am concerned that if I were to become unemployed over the next few years, my cash reserves would be dangerously low.

This is also a scary percentage of my annual take-home pay (I’m on a moderate income). I was wondering if you could suggest a strategy or strategies to fund this $8,500 expenditure over a two-year period interest free.

I have an excellent credit score (800+). I know that during the process, I can shop for balance transfer offers. However, I’d prefer to find a card with 0% on purchases for 24 months or do a series of transactions to perform the equivalent.

My dental surgeon’s office has an arrangement with “Care Credit” whereby (if approved) I pay no interest for 6 months (not much help). After that, it goes to market (I’m not interested in paying more than 4% interest). My primary dentist (the one doing the bridge) has no arrangements with Care Credit or similar cards.

Bob R.

Bob,

I feel your dental pain on this one. I have one implant and have had quite a few root canals and crowns. I have to say that I love the implant. I call it my “Bionic Tooth.” At least I know that if all the others go, I can hang the dentures on that one.

You should have many financing options because of your great credit score. I would take advantage of the Care Credit for 6 months. Just be sure to pay it off with other financing before it ends. Use any credit card to charge the remaining balances when due to get that 5% discount. My dentist gives me the same discount, that’s my only dental insurance.

Immediately after that, start applying for new cards to transfer the balance to before the grace period ends. You can find a list of my recommended cards at: http://www.debtsmart.com/cards/

Best,

Scott

Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, “Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt,” “Credit Card and Debt Management,” and “How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart.”

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