Nearly all of us have some kind of debt, whether it’s a mortgage, student loans, medical bills, credit cards, or even a loan to our father-in-law we still need to pay back (guilty as charged). Let’s look at freedom from debt and think about how we can get out of debt faster – or at least make sure we’re managing the debt we have most effectively:
• Some mortgages are definitely subject to being renegotiated. If you feel that your mortgage payments are unreasonable, your financial situation has changed, your rate is higher than current market interest rates, or other factors have made your mortgage too burdensome, look into refinancing your home mortgage.
• Whether undergraduates or PhD candidates, the one thing many students have in common is the student loan debt they’re accumulating. And like credit card debt, the traditional advice has been to pay off the highest interest loans first, especially if they’re variable interest levels that can rise or fall. One course is to consolidate private loans, but do so only if you have an excellent credit score, since many consolidation loans carry variable interest rates.
• Credit card debt, since it is usually the highest rate and nondeductible, is traditionally the debt financial advisors suggest tackling first, and with good reason. High interest rates and finance charges can keep you from putting money away toward retirement, a home, buying the car of your dreams, your children’s education or countless other significant expenses that may have to wait until you get “out from under.” Look at your credit card debt honestly and see if you can find more effective ways to manage it, whether it’s asking your card issuer for a lower rate, trying to get a better balance transfer rate, or credit consolidation.
Explore your options for more freedom from debt in these areas and you might be surprised at how relieved you’ll feel.