Debt free. If you’ve been working to pay your debt off for many years, then there are few things that sound sweeter than those two words. No more monthly payments on things you already use and maybe have even tired of. No more losing money to outrageously high interest rates. No more black cloud of debt hanging over your head and impacting every decision you make in life, financial or not. What could be better?
But becoming debt free can be a long journey, and once you reach your goal you might be surprised about how you feel. Perhaps you feel deflated instead of proud. Perhaps your fear of debt turns into worry about not having more money saved. Or maybe you just don’t know how to feel. Thoughts focusing on your debt might have taken priority for so long that you hardly know what to do with yourself once you’re free from them. So how can you make sure you move forward from your newfound debt freedom into financial prosperity? Step one: recognize and then deal with your emotions.
The author of this post is Catey Hill, a writer for the real estate website Zillow.com.
Have you ever wondered what is a good credit score for buying a house? If so, you’re not alone. Many buyers are entering the housing market right now to take advantage of current low mortgage rates, some of which are even below 3 percent. But before you decide to buy a house, you need to not only figure out if you’re financially ready but also make sure that your credit score is in good shape, especially if you want to qualify for the lowest interest rates.
While many people think that an additional percentage point or two on their interest rate won’t make much of a difference, it does. Consider this comparison: Consumers who borrow $200,000 over 30 years at a 5 percent rate pay more than $186,000 in interest to the bank over the life of the loan. Compare this to consumers who borrow the same amount over that same time period but at a 3 percent rate pay just over $103,000 in interest – that’s more than 40 percent less.
Plus, a lower interest rate can significantly lower monthly mortgage payments, freeing up cash for homeowners each and every month.
That’s why it’s essential for home buyers to know their credit scores and restore their scores before applying for home loans. Here’s what potential home buyers need to know about credit scores.
Paying off debt is probably one of the hardest financial struggles you’ll ever face. It’s right up there with losing your job and not being able to pay all your bills. Why?
Because getting motivated to pay off debt (and staying out of debt) goes against what’s normal in our society. The normalcy of having debt is enough to keep you in debt for your entire life, and is even encouraged as a way to afford the “American Dream.”
So once you get over the initial decision to repay your debts, and you’ve created a solid game plan, the real work starts when you’re in the midst of putting your plan into action.
As someone who paid off over $14,000 of consumer debt in just over a year, I have firsthand experience with finding ways to stay motivated for long-term debt repayment. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you stay on track for the long haul.
Graduation is just around the corner which means student loans aren’t far behind. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to gain control over student loans before they take over your life. And the earlier you start, the better! That’s why we’re sharing information on student loans in this week’s shout outs – to empower you to face and tackle them head on!
Kristen Hawley is a freelance writer with a personal interest in student loan debt. She blogs here to help others understand exactly what’s happening in the student loan universe.
If you’ve read the fine print on your student loan paperwork (or have been in the dire straights of needing to figure this out for yourself), you’ve realized there are some options to postpone payments. Deferring your loans while engaging in some sort of approved activity (like getting another degree or become unemployed) isn’t too tricky. And during a sanctioned deferment, interest won’t accrue — so you don’t end up paying more than you would otherwise.
Unfortunately, though, just not having enough cash to cover your monthly payment isn’t a valid reason for deferment. But depending on your lender and situation, you may be granted a forbearance: a temporary suspension or reduction of loan payments. Of course, unlike a deferment, interest will accrue during this time period.
If you’ve been following our blog, then you know that we often talk about ways to start a budget, pay your debt down faster, and save more money. But we know that this advice isn’t always as easy to implement as it sounds. The fact is, finances may be comprised of simple math, but the way they add up in our lives can include a lot more gray area – or even ways to bend that math to work for us!
This is something I’ve learned while working on the Money Makeover Series. Sometimes simply setting a budget or a spending plan isn’t enough. There are times when your income may be lower than your necessary expenditures and things like food and shelter simply can’t get cut from the budget. So what can you do to reverse this and make sure your income > bills? Develop a new strategy!
Being human in the modern world involves making some tough decisions. Everyday in life we have to do things that we wouldn’t normally choose to do in our jobs, at our homes, in our relationships, and in other areas of our lives. Let’s face it, if we were given the choice between cleaning the bathroom or watching a favorite movie, most of us would choose the favorite movie.
Who but a select few among us would choose to fill out their tax forms instead of going to a barbecue with friends? Likewise, when it comes to our finances, we often find that the things we should do are not the same as the things we’d like to do (all else being equal). If long-term consequences could be ignored, most of us would rather not spend all of our extra cash towards paying off debts and instead would prefer to spend it pursuing our own whims and dreams.
“I’ve got a debt problem.”
This is something that many of us have heard — and probably have even said. I remember when I used to refer to my own “debt problem.” After awhile, though, I realized that debt wasn’t my problem at all.
No, consumer debt isn’t the problem. It is only a symptom of the problem.
Graduation season is upon us! Are you graduating this year — or know anyone who is? If so, take a look at these shout outs! You’ll find some reads on how to handle finances after graduation, how to pay off student loans, and how to guy graduation gifts on the cheap.
At ReadyForZero we strive to always be available and accountable to our users. That’s why we personally respond to every e-mail that’s sent to our support inbox, and why we put our dashing profile pictures on the About page. Now we’re interviewing each one of our awesome team members (all 12 of us) and posting them here on our blog so you can get to know the fun and diverse people that are working hard everyday to make ReadyForZero better. I mean, you already use our product to pay down your debt, wouldn’t it be nice to know a little bit more about the people you’re entrusting this goal with? We hope you enjoy these interviews and don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below!
Our next interview is with Benny Tsai, Full Stack Engineer/Merge Master. Benny is a self-proclaimed OCD engineer (kidding, kidding – sort of) who’s lived in multiple countries and is excited to now call the Bay Area his home. Read on to learn more about the person who makes sure that ReadyForZero is running smoothly with each new feature launch.