I had another great opportunity to be a finance expert on Experian’s #CreditChat panel. The topic was myths about Credit Reports. After I gave my insights I thought to share some with you.
When it comes to credit reports, there are various myths and misconceptions.
Here are 5 myths and responses:
As the panel responded to questions regarding credit reports myths there were some about credit reports, Here are a couple that were asked:
“Does closing a credit line impact your score?” Yes it can as the length of time you had the credit line is a component of your credit score. So when you close a card that removes your ability to get rated on that component for that line time.
Should I leave a small balance on my credit cards as I was told it help my credit scores?”. It’s actually always best to pay your card balance in full each month or at the very least within 10-28% of the balance. Another component of your score is the amount of debt owed. So when that percentage is 0 or less that 30% it helps your score.
These were the most common credit myths debunked! I also encourage you yo do your research and if there are other myth you wanted debunked, let me know.
Check out other blog on credit reports here
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Many people have different definitions of what financial independence means. To me, financial independence means having options and freedom. It also means doing things you want to do when you want to do them. Essentially it is living your best life!
Having limited financial education can be a barrier to this lifestyle but you can overcome it. It is time for you to learn as much as you can. Start now, makeup where you can, and know that you can do it!
Here are 3 tips to achieve financial independence:
There are many free resources out there to help. You can check out the It'$ My Money resources page here. As you’re going through your financial independence journey, be sure to stay away from immediate spending gratification and learn to appreciate delayed spending gratification.
Now these tips alone will get you financial independence but it will certainly get you on your way.
A budget is critical part of your journey because it gives you a clear view of both your income and expenses. Maintaining a budget consists of visiting it often. It also helps you stay in control of your spending and allows you to become intimate with your money.
Furthermore, understanding credit can help push you further toward the financial freedom many people seek. It is not a good habit to use credit when you exhaust your cash and only credit responsibly. That is being able to pay off the credit that use each month, Good credit also gives you options personally and for your business. If you have had credit issues in the past, you can create a debt repayment plan and follow it. Grab a debt tracker here. You may need someone to help you. In that case, work with a coach who can help you through it, execution is key!
It is also a good idea to surround yourself with people that support your journey or are traveling along the same path. That reason why that is import is, essentially, you are the sum of the people you hang around. So if they do not have a goal of financial independence, it may hinder your goal.
Continue to employ these tips and work toward the life you want to live. Remember, YOU CAN DO IT! Grab the self-paced money masters course. You get lifetime access and a bonus included, check out the masters course.
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Once you have mastered the fundamentals, you can learn how to supplement your daily, weekly, or monthly income with trading so that you can live your best life. Check out trade and travel.
The debt snowball technique for paying off debt was made popular by Dave Ramsey in his book The Total Money Makeover.
Touted as a great way to get out of debt, there’s no doubt that the debt snowball method has helped many in their journey to better financial lives.
While undoubtedly a helpful concept, the debt snowball method also has some drawbacks. Additionally, some people complete the debt snowball method to repeat the cycle and get back into debt. This is an interesting conundrum and one that suggests that the debt snowball should only be part of your plan for reaching debt freedom if utilized.
The following will discuss the debt snowball, its benefits, its drawbacks, and why it may be better to use a different method when shedding consumer debt for good.
What is the Debt Snowball?
The debt snowball became after being featured in Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover. The idea is simple: you pay off your debts from smallest to largest until the last debt is paid off.
The smallest debt gets the largest payment, while the rest gets the minimum monthly amount owed. The idea is to throw as much money as you can at the smallest debt while still making your other minimum monthly payments. Once you pay off the first debt, you move on to the next smallest and repeat the process until all debt is gone.
Once you’ve paid off a debt, you can then reallocate that payment to your next smallest debt, and so on, until you’re able to throw a large amount of money at your larger debts. Your "snowball" will build so that you can make larger payments as you go along the process.
By the time you reach your last debt, with the largest balance, you will be able to focus the largest amount on paying down that debt as quickly as possible.
Benefits Most Stated for the Debt Snowball:
“The problem with your money is not your math. It’s the person in the mirror” is a quote from a debt snowball page on the Dave Ramsey site. But the question I have is, how does the debt snowball change the person in the mirror?
If getting debt-free is the primary goal, then I agree with this statement. I think it is definitely part of the journey, but it is not the destination. I also agree that behavior and emotions are often big issues when it comes to money problems. While the math may make sense, emotions often get in the way of rational decisions.
But does the debt snowball really help you change your behavior? First, let’s look at some drawbacks to the debt snowball method. Focusing on the Wrong ReasonsThe issue I have with the debt snowball is that it focuses on your feelings. You are trying to get smaller "wins" instead of looking at the big picture and ultimately what the debt snowball will cost you (which is more time and money).
But for most, aren’t "feelings" what got us into consumer debt in the first place?
The unfortunate truth is that if you don’t learn how to manage your feelings and act according to what your head knows to be true rather than what your heart wants to be true, you’re in danger of repeating the cycle and continuing to get out of debt.
Thus, getting out of debt isn’t really the ultimate goal in itself. Rather, it’s figuring out why the debt is there and figuring out ways to change any contributing behavior to avoid it in the future. That way, you prevent the past from going on repeat, and you set yourself up to tackle the next destination on your path to becoming independently wealthy or whatever your financial goals are.
It's about learning how to make smart financial decisions, even when it isn't what you feel like doing. Sacrificing the temporary satisfaction for things that are more permanent and valuable.
The Debt Snowball Goes Against Math:
Interest can either work for you or against you. But, especially when it comes to credit card interest, you’re losing money in a big way.
The amount you pay on credit card interest is money directly out of your pocket. If you don't pay off your balance, you will pay more on interest next month. It's the power of compound interest working against you.
Because of interest rates and the massive amounts of money you can lose to it, the debt snowball method usually results in you losing more money throughout the process.
Instead, a more sound method to handle debt is to pay off the credit cards or loans with the highest interest rates FIRST.
Every time you pay down a balance, you save money that could be going to interest that you can then use to pay down your debts. This process ultimately will allow you to get out of debt faster and saves you huge amounts of interest. If you have a tremendous amount of debt, this could also end up saving you a ton of money over the long haul.
Now, of course, it makes sense to pay off small debts that can be accomplished in a month or two. You could then use those payments toward other debt. However, focusing most of your money on the highest-interest debts will save you money and time on your journey.
This method has a fancy name too. It’s called the debt avalanche method. Does the debt avalanche method mean you don’t pay off full balances as quickly? Yes, it does. But the tradeoff is that you reduce the length of time it takes to pay off all debts due to cutting down on interest, as well as the money you would have paid toward interest had you let the balances sit longer. In this case, rather than the good feelings coming from “quick” wins, they come from paying off all debt earlier and saving more money in the process.
Does the Debt Snowball Really Change Your Behavior?
Again, the debt snowball is touted as a method that helps people change their behavior, but what behavior changes when you utilize the debt snowball?
Now, you may prevent yourself from going into more debt by staying on track using this method, which is good, but it does nothing about the reason behind the behavior. If you spend multiple years getting out of credit card debt, only to repeat the process, what good is the debt snowball?
From what I can tell, the only behavior changed by the debt snowball is how you are tackling your debt. And by implementing the debt snowball, you are almost guaranteed to have the debt longer and pay more on interest. That’s just the way the math works.
When You Might Consider Using the Debt Snowball
This article from Forbes compares the two debt payoff strategies. The general finding was that most people had an easier time sticking to a debt payoff plan when they focused on the smallest balances first.
For those people who have accrued massive amounts of debt, this makes sense. Most of them built up these debts based on emotion, so it makes sense that emotion would play a factor in motivating them to pay off or not pay off their balances.
Those steady little wins provide instant gratification, just like buying things you want even though you may not be able to afford them. If you are in a situation where you have a ton of debts to pay off, and you are looking at over 4-5 years to pay off these debts, you may look at implementing the debt snowball, at least for a time. Given that timeline and the amount of debt, some quick wins may help you stay motivated.
After all, 5+ years is an enormous amount of time for anyone to stick with any plan. Or maybe you look at the numbers, and in your scenario, the debt snowball isn't going to cost you that much in additional interest charges or time. That might be a great reason to go with the debt snowball.
How to Get Out of Debt for Good
When you’re drowning in debt, any method that helps you create a plan and focus on digging your way out is good. But, unfortunately, when you’re in that deep, it’s hard to focus on anything else. But life is more than just getting debt-free. It's about getting to a point where making money isn't holding you back from doing what you want to do with your time. That is the ultimate goal.
It's about learning to use money in ways that add to your life and not take from it. Of course, that's going to look different for everyone, but in all cases getting debt-free is only a stop in your journey.
Focusing on just the debt and nothing else can become a trap. You may be passionate about paying off your debts, and when that feeling fades, your old spending habits might resurface. Being passionate about an idea is not a bad thing. But what is more important is how this passion relates to your long-term money goals.
You need to take some time and think: what are your long-term money goals? What do you ultimately hope to accomplish? What would make you happy? Identifying those goals is essential so that your debt payoff journey becomes just a step in your overall financial journey. With these larger goals in mind, you’ll be more motivated to examine how you got into debt and what changes you need to make to stay out of debt and beyond.
At times it can feel like we are always stressed out in trying to push towards something. But for each step we make towards our long-term goals, the more we will experience the fruit of our efforts.
Some things to keep in mind on your journey:
Implementing the Debt Snowball is Not Stupid. While I am advocating for using a different debt-payoff method, I want to be clear about one thing; those who use the debt snowball method are not bad or stupid. If you are paying off debt and are thinking about how the debt got there, that is a great thing, and I’m happy for you.
My goal with this article is to challenge the idea that the debt snowball is a magic pill that will solve all your money problems. The problem is usually much larger than the balances on your credit cards. And the debt snowball comes with an extra cost: time. The math is clear on this. It will take you longer to pay off your debts using the debt snowball method than if you focused on the highest interest rate debts first. You’ll also pay more over the course of debt payoff because you’re continuing to have higher balances on your highest interest rate debt.
But the most expensive aspect of having consumer debt is how much time it takes from your financial life. The longer you are in debt and obligated to pay these liabilities, the longer it will take you to be able to focus on saving, investing, and other things that enhance your life.
The more time you can get back, the faster you can arrive at each destination in your financial journey. Use how much you hate your debt as motivation to get it paid off. Your future self will thank you.
The debt snowball is often touted as a great method for getting out of debt. This method builds in small wins by paying off the smallest balances first.
While this method may help you stay motivated to pay off debt, it may also cost you time and money. You also risk repeating the cycle if you don’t reflect on why you got into debt in the first place and the behavior changes needed to remain debt-free. Instead, I suggest using the debt avalanche method, which involves paying off your highest interest debts first.
In any case, thinking about what is going on behind your debt and how you can prevent the same scenario from happening in the future is the most important thing about your debt payoff strategy. On a general level, we (as humans) have a massive consumer debt problem, which will likely only get worse. Ensure you talk about the core issues behind the debt and figure out how you can live your best life to achieve your goals.
Guest author: Tawnya Redding
Tawnya is an elementary special education teacher by day and co-blogger at Money Saved is Money Earned by night. She holds an Honors BS in Psychology from Oregon State University and an MS in Special Education from Portland State University. She has had a successful writing career, first as a writing tutor at the Oregon State University Writing Center, and in recent years, as a freelance writer. Tawnya and co-blogger Sebastian have a wealth of knowledge and information about personal finance, retirement, student loans, credit cards, and many other financial topics. They teach people how to save money, make money, and understand money.
Another great blog that may interest you on earning to pay off debt. Or you can check out this blog on making money on YouTube.
Outside is finally opening back up just in time for the Summer! It’s time to start making plans with family and friends to have a remarkable summer experience and create new memories. There are so many resources for everyone to access discount codes for theme parks, dinners, movies, and hotels for weekend getaways. Check you local newspaper, town guides, AAA and your local grocery stores.
But who is to say you have to go out of town to enjoy your summer? A great way to save more is by having family and friends come over for some backyard activities such as water slide, bouncy house, and who doesn’t love a good tradition of a family BBQ!
Even your local community has events that are taking place not just for the children, but for adults as well without a cost. Take the time to sit down with your loved ones to come up with a game plan to enjoy each other while saving and staying within your budget! You don't have to spend a ton of money to enjoy your summer. You should be creating experiences with the people you love.
Now that the world is slowly opening back up, Here are ways to be smart with their money while still enjoying themselves this time around.
Here are some tips, tools and resources that will help:
There are many great financial tips on the blog and resource page, Regular financial tips are on both Instagram and Twitter.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.