Friday, April 10, 2009

Prioritizing your Debt

I saw a good foundational article today at MSNBC on their Today page.

If you have several different types of debt — say, a credit card balance on a card with a 17% interest rate, a car loan with a 12% rate, and a student loan at 9% — pay off the loan with the highest interest rate first. One strategy you may want to consider is stretching out your student loan payments over 15 years instead of 10 years by signing up for the Federal Direct Consolidation Loan program. (To see if you're eligible, call the Department of Education at 800-4FED-AID.) This will reduce your monthly student loan payment and leave you with extra cash. Use this money to pay off your credit card balance faster. Once you've gotten rid of your credit card debt, start paying off your auto loan faster. After you wipe out that loan, too, increase your student loan payments to at least their initial levels.

If you're looking at a lot of different types of debt, it's important to stay disciplined to these principals.