5 – Take A Load Off
Nothing weighs you down more than carrying a lot of debt. There is no greater obstacle to achieving financial success than debt. Debt payments—particularly those at high interest rates—reduce the amount of household income you have for both saving and pursuing activities which can positively impact your quality of life.
- Don’t charge anything that you can’t pay off in full next month
- Build up an emergency fund so that you lessen the chance you’ll need to take on debt
- Accelerate the payoff of credit card and high-interest installment debt by making payments larger than required
- Keep up with your student loan payments
- Save up and pay for big ticket items with cash
- When buying a house, mortgage debt can be OK
- Avoid home equity loans
For the purchase of a home or a vehicle, debt can be necessary. But debt is like running with scissors: you can be hurt very badly if you stumble. Debt can make you clumsy.
Pause and think before taking on debt. Do I really need to make this purchase? Is there a lower cost option? Can the purchase be postponed until I have the cash? Will its monthly payments keep me from obtaining a more important goal? Debt is so easy to acquire, but so difficult to shed.
Use an “Avalanche” or “Snowball” strategy to help pay down debt quickly. These strategies can save you hundreds (if not thousands!) of dollars in interest payment—and significantly shorten the time it will take to be debt-free.