If you are young you probably have some form of debt. I believe one of the hardest thing about finances is deciding where to start and what to focus on. Sometimes you can be so far behind you feel hopeless. Although you may have no savings and a lot of debt there is an answer.
So if you don’t already know I graduated debt free and I was blessed to have a car given to me in high school with no car note. So yes I have no debt but my husband has a car and student loans, so we have been faced with dilemma do we pay the debt down or save money? The short term answer is pay debt, all the big financial advisers will tell you debt first. But I believe its much harder than that. Depending on your narrative will ultimately choose which path to take first. Look at all the elements I raise for you to ask and this will be a guide to let you know where to start.
What are your short term and long term goals. Me and my husband want to have a house and we want it rather soon. After talking to a loan officer for a pre-approval letter, he wasn’t pushed back by the amount of loans we had. He was mostly focus on our credit and how much we made. When we told him how much we were going to put on the down payment and he ran our credit and was like ya “your good”. And in seconds we were on our way. Small hiccup it was contingent I went back to work making similar to my old salary, (but that’s another story). This goal we had showed us that we should be focused on the down payment, rather than paying loans. So if a goal of yours requires money right now then go for the savings.
This one is rather simple, a good savings account can yield you 1.0% on your balance, an average credit card loan can be 15%. So if you have a huge balance on your credit card you should opt to pay that down first because it will net you more money in the end. You can also get savvy with the interest on things. My husband was able to put his loans in forbearance and have the government pay on the interest, and we put our money to the car loan which is at 4%. Its all about finding the most efficient way to make your money work for you.
Do you have kids? If so save save save, those little suckers are so cute but can literally brake anything in your house, get sick, etc. You will defiantly need a small savings to make sure you can cover small emergency. Also if you go ahead and save 3 months of living expenditures and you lose your job you wont have to worry about putting everything on credit. When your single or married with no kids, your focus should be a “debt free” mindset.
Yes I said it, if you are black I would push for you to at least get 1-2 months of living expenses saved. Why? Well our income disparity is out of whack, last ones to get picked for a job and a whole bunch of other stuff that shows how racist this world is. I say all that to encourage you to make sure your money is okay. If your boss calls you the N word, and you have $0 saved with a child to feed your less likely to leave. If you find out your getting paid half the salary as someone without the education as you but you wont make rent if you leave then you will compromise. As someone once said “black people always make sure you have some F-U money. “
This can take some practice and I will admit its A LOT of work. But if your up for the challenge do it. Make a goal you want to have save and how much debt you want to pay, then rotate each amount every month. So lets say you have $300 each month to either save or put towards debt. One month delegate it to savings the other month double up on your car note or student loan. This way you will have a little money saved but feel like your one step closer to being debt free.
Confused? If so, its okay which ever option you choose will be better than doing nothing. The difference is buying an item on sale and being happy about it, too find out next week its 10% cheaper. You might be mad that you didn’t get it at it lowest, however you didn’t buy it full price. Looking back on your financial decision you will be glad you started either path even if your like darn I should of paid the car off first. You live you learn and that’s the beauty of life!