How To Prioritize Debt
January 13, 2021
Between credit cards, student loans, and mortgages, there are a variety of different types of debt out there. Part of tackling your debt obligations is knowing which of your debts to prioritize first. By prioritizing your debt, you can create a step-by-step plan that helps you get rid of the bad and expensive types of debt fast, while at the same time reducing what you owe in interest.
Here are some tips to help take control of your debt:
Start with high-interest credit cards. Minimum payments on most consumer credit cards are typically low, but only paying this amount will make it take longer to pay off the balance and cost you more. You should tackle your credit cards in the order of their interest rate, starting with the highest.
Spend as much as you can comfortably afford each month on paying down the highest interest rate card and stick with the minimum payments on the others. When that card’s balance reaches zero, focus on the next-highest interest rate and so on. While it can be daunting at first, you’ll find it easier to tackle your debt in this order as each card requires less monetary investment.
Pay off your most expensive student loans. Private student loans typically carry higher interest rates than government loans. If your private loan’s interest rate is above 8%, you should pay that down next, especially if you’re not eligible to claim the student loan interest as a tax deduction on your income taxes.
Keep up with your regular payments on lower interest debt. Mortgages, car loans, and government student loans generally have lower interest rates and many offer tax benefits, but don’t forget about them! You can continue to make the minimum monthly payment obligations on these types of loans while you’re focusing on your higher interest debts.
As a guideline, many advisors suggest that your overall debt shouldn’t exceed 36% of your gross income. Managing your finances well helps you free up money from debt payments, enabling you to put away savings for good use. These include an emergency fund, unplanned expenses, and most importantly your retirement.
If you’re looking for help managing your debt, there are plenty of tools available to New Tripoli Bank customers that will help you improve your financial wellness. With a checking or savings account, you are automatically enrolled in online banking where you can set up automatic bill payments to keep all your credit card and loan obligations all in one place. You can name each payment based on the interest rate which will allow you to easily track which ones you should pay down first.
New Tripoli Bank online banking also has the Manage My Money tool to help you track income and spending in one easy place. The tool automatically sorts your transactions into different categories such as gifts, entertainment, or insurance, so you can see how much you have available for debt payments and where you can afford to cut back to help get your finances in order.