Most people are at least a little stressed out about money. That's understandable: Savings are low, expenses are high, we're taking on increasing amounts of debt. Some days it seems like we'll just never make enough money to retire or take that holiday we've been dreaming of. Here's what you need to know.
Tagged With debt
Dear Lifehacker, I'm getting on in life and at this point it seems unlikely that my credit card debts will ever be paid off in full. (I can barely afford the monthly interest repayments, let alone the outstanding debt.) I also don't own much in the way of assets. So my question is: What happens to my credit debt when I die? Do I need to worry about my adult son getting saddled with my debt?
You've seen them. Those sensational online profiles of people who accomplished massive goals that most of us can only dream of in a ridiculous amount of time. How This 30-Year Old Quit His Job and Became a Millionaire or How This Millennial Bought a Mansion on a $30k salary or How This Couple Paid off $200,000 Worth of Debt in a Year.
I had a great lunch today with an old friend of mine. We used to work together and he was a couple of decades older than I was, so today he's actually starting to see retirement on the short term horizon. He was interested in what my life was like as a self-employed person who made a living on a mix of side gigs and contracts, and I shared some of my thoughts on that, but when we got down to the real meat of the conversation, it seemed like he was mostly trying to figure out what the next stage of his life is going to look like.
If you can swing it, paying off your mortgage early sounds like a smart enough idea. But some prefer to invest rather than throw cash at outstanding, low-interest debt. The idea is, if your debt's interest rate is lower than your investment return, you come out ahead. Here's a simple way to decide if this route is right for you.
The specifics of managing your finances can be complex, but the basic principles of good financial health are simple. Above all else, put your future money toward saving rather than spending.
In my 20s, I paid off my student debt and it felt amazing. For the first time ever, I had discretionary income: Money left over after necessities. Aside from buying a bunch of crap I didn't need, I had no idea what to do with that money. If this sounds familiar, whether you've just paid off a car loan, student loan or a credit card, here are some steps to take.
The snowball method is the best way to pay down your debt. If you're sceptical and want to see how it will work, this spreadsheet will calculate exactly how long it will take to be debt free.
Credit card minimum payments are designed to keep you in debt for a long time. The more you pay each month, obviously, the quicker you'll be debt-free. To put a timeline on it, check out this chart from Business Insider. It tells you how long it will take to pay off your debt, depending on how much you pay every month.
When it comes to financial planning, many Australians are just treading water - despite not really knowing how to swim. According data from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), just two-in-five Australians have a short-term financial plan (3-5 years) and barely a quarter have along-term plan (15-20).
If this sounds like you, it’s not all doom and gloom: there are a number of simple things you can do to help you better understand and get on top of your finances. Here are some tips.
If you go looking for financial advice, you'll find a ton of it. Heck, even we have a ton of posts devoted to it. However, if you're looking to make a change to your financial life, you probably already know where to start.
It's important to read the fine print with just about everything -- especially credit cards. Credit card companies use some pretty sneaky tactics to get you to sign up. They lure you with tempting offers that seem legit, but if you miss one iota of fine print, you're royally screwed. Here's what to watch out for, specifically, when you apply for a new credit card.
Getting out of debt isn't easy, and while there's plenty of practical advice to help, the psychological toll is a huge, often-overlooked obstacle. When you feel utterly powerless against debt, it only makes the process more difficult. While it takes money to get the job done, shifting your mindset to an empowered one will help you through the long slog to financial freedom.