If you are serious about getting ahead financially, then getting rid of debt should be one of your top priorities. Short term debt is the worst kind as it generally has very high interest rates and high repayments. It comes about for three reasons – an unexpected expense, sudden loss of income or long-term overspending. Here are five steps that will help you get rid of short term debt faster:
Step One – Confront your debts by making a list of them. If you have many small debts you might be surprised at what they add up to. Rank your debts in order of priority for payment. Some people prefer to pay off the debts with the highest interest rate first, and some prefer to start by getting rid of the debts that have the shortest repayment period so they feel like they are making progress.
Step Two - Check on any penalties or fees for early repayment. Contact each lender to determine how quickly you can repay your debt without incurring penalties or fees.
Step Three- Consolidate and/or refinance. Look at options for consolidating your debt and/or refinancing it at a lower interest rate. This may also allow you to repay debts over a slightly longer period of time to make the payments more manageable.
Step Four – Set up an automatic payment to make additional voluntary payments on the first debt on your list. Leave your other debt payments at their minimum level. When the first debt is paid off, start on the next one on the list and keep working through until all debts are repaid.
Step Five – Deal with the causes of short term debt. Build up an emergency fund for unexpected expenses or loss of income, and make a budget to keep your spending within your income.
Liz Koh is a financial adviser. Her disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847. Author of Your Money Personality; Unlock the Secret to a Rich and Happy Life, Awa Press, March, 2008. For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com