Your Debt Repayment Timeline: What to Pay When

It is important to create a repayment plan when tackling debt. When deciding which debts to pay and when, you will want to consider the payment amount, the length of the loan term, and the current interest rate.

Credit Cards

Debt repayment

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Most households have some type of credit card debt spread among numerous credit cards. In fact, American credit card debt has reached an astounding one trillion dollars in 2017. When you owe to multiple credit cards each month, creating a repayment plan can feel overwhelming. When it comes to paying down credit card debt, you can organize your debt either by amount owed or by the current interest rate.

Organizing credit cards by the amount owed allows you to pay off larger debts first. These are the credit cards with higher monthly payments. You can also choose to start at the lowest amounts owed, giving you a sense of success upon quickly paying off lower credit cards. Organizing credit card debt by interest rate can save you money in the long run by avoiding costly fees. This will lead to the lowest amount paid over the life of the credit card.

Student Loans

Shortly after college graduation, you will begin receiving student loan bills. Depending on the amount owed, monthly student loan bills can be quite high. Instead of ignoring them, gain control of your student loans by consolidating or refinancing them. Consolidating your student loans combines them into one monthly payment that is easier to track. If you have good credit, you might even qualify for a more affordable monthly payment with a lower interest rate.

Mortgages

Many homeowners wonder if they should prioritize paying down their mortgage over other types of debt. A mortgage is considered good debt. This means that it is a debt that offers a return on the investment. Mortgages represent one of the longest loan terms and also one of the biggest purchases you will make. As long as you keep up with your monthly mortgage payments, it is unlikely to hurt your credit. The interest rate on your mortgage is also likely to be less than your credit cards. While your lender may offer the option to pay ahead on your mortgage principal, consider allocating extra cash to high-interest debts like credit cards and personal loans first.

Auto Loans

Auto loans are fairly easy to get but often come with higher interest rates. Paying off an auto loan early can free up monthly cash flow, but it is best to tackle even higher-interest payments first. Refinancing your car loan is another option if you qualify for a lower interest rate. Maintaining a responsible payment schedule on auto loans can boost your credit score.

Personal Loans

Personal loans come with higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms. Defaulting on a personal loan can also severely affect your credit and your ability to take out future loans for a mortgage or student loan. Because of the financial effects of personal loans, they should usually be paid off sooner.

Eliminating debt requires you to organize and evaluate your debt repayments. Considering term length, type of credit, and interest rate can help you get a better grasp on your debt.

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