Many people see debt as a necessary evil, but it still is possible to live—and thrive—without using debt or worrying about your credit scores. The benefits of debt-free living are easy to understand, but it's important to know what challenges you'll face and how to overcome them if you stop playing the credit game.
Paying off debt can feel like it has to be your only financial priority. But you should do some saving while you're paying down debt. Even a small cushion of emergency savings can keep you from going deeper into debt when an unexpected expense pops up.
A good goal is to be debt-free by retirement age, either 65 or earlier if you want. If you have other goals, such as taking a sabbatical or starting a business, you should make sure that your debt isn't going to hold you back.
Is being debt-free the new rich? Yes, as long as you have money and assets, in addition to no debts. Living loan-free is a fantastic way to stay financially secure, and it is possible for anyone.
What is the 50-20-30 rule? The 50-20-30 rule is a money management technique that divides your paycheck into three categories: 50% for the essentials, 20% for savings and 30% for everything else.
Rather than focusing on interest rates, you pay off your smallest debt first while making minimum payments on your other debt. Once you pay off the smallest debt, use that cash to make larger payments on the next smallest debt. Continue until all your debt is paid off.
Becoming debt free or even moving closer to that direction can significantly affect your credit score. Payment history and credit utilization are two major factors in your FICO score. Thus, paying off debt establishes a good history and optimizes your credit utilization.
Every credit move you make from the time you open your first account will either move you towards good credit or bad credit. Most people can avoid bad credit by simply making the right choices with credit and other financial accounts.
The most common reasons credit scores drop after paying off debt are a decrease in the average age of your accounts, a change in the types of credit you have, or an increase in your overall utilization. It's important to note, however, that credit score drops from paying off debt are usually temporary.
Our recommendation is to prioritize paying down significant debt while making small contributions to your savings. Once you've paid off your debt, you can then more aggressively build your savings by contributing the full amount you were previously paying each month toward debt.
You may have heard carrying a balance is beneficial to your credit score, so wouldn't it be better to pay off your debt slowly? The answer in almost all cases is no. Paying off credit card debt as quickly as possible will save you money in interest but also help keep your credit in good shape.
The debt avalanche method involves making minimum payments on all debt, then using any extra funds to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate. The debt snowball method involves making minimum payments on all debt, then paying off the smallest debts first before moving on to bigger ones.
It's best to avoid using savings to pay off debt. Depleting savings puts you at risk for going back into debt if you need to use credit cards or loans to cover bills during a period of unexpected unemployment or a medical emergency.
The Rule of 72 is a calculation that estimates the number of years it takes to double your money at a specified rate of return. If, for example, your account earns 4 percent, divide 72 by 4 to get the number of years it will take for your money to double. In this case, 18 years.
Here's a final rule of thumb you can consider: at least 20% of your income should go towards savings. More is fine; less may mean saving longer. At least 20% of your income should go towards savings. Meanwhile, another 50% (maximum) should go toward necessities, while 30% goes toward discretionary items.
This suggests you should intend to save 20% of your monthly income or every paycheck. This rule advocates putting 50% of your income toward your essential expenses each month, spending 30%, and then saving the remaining 20%.
The average credit card holder in the U.S. had $5,668 in credit card debt in Q2 2021 — that's 1% higher than Q1 2021's $5,611 average. From the first Q1 2020 to Q2 2021, the average credit card debt per cardholder decreased by $766 or 12%. The average cardholder had $6,434 in Q1 2020.
Being debt free to start with means having minimal to no bad debts and average good debts. Being debt free doesn't mean you have no mortgage, bills, or car payment. It means you carry a manageable amount of debt, and are cognizant of your borrowing and DTI.
A recent report showed that nearly 80% of Americans are in debt—that's 8 out of every 10 people you know! And how many times have you heard one of these money myths: You need to have a good credit score!
For a score with a range between 300 and 850, a credit score of 700 or above is generally considered good. A score of 800 or above on the same range is considered to be excellent. Most consumers have credit scores that fall between 600 and 750.