//An old post of mine, a lot of things can happen in 3 years. ^^
Debt, the word that I believed most of us doesn’t like its existence in our life (unless you are the fan of “Good Debt, Bad Debt” and you are obviously holding a lot of good debt).
What I am going to talk about in this post is bad debt/consumer debt. This category of debt includes credit card debt (swipe your card, buy that 48 inches LCD TV now, the discount only last 3 more seconds!!!), car loan (buy the biggest car you can afford that impress your friend and get stuck in traffic jam every morning during peak hour….), student loan (this loan category is a tricky one, it can be a good or bad investment, and I will put my thought on it later).
Face Your Debt
Obviously, the first step in clearing your debt would be know and acknowledge your debt situation. Consolidate the amount you owed on each debt category from the highest interest rate to the lowest. Remember not to put any emotion when you are doing this activity, there is no point to put the blame on yourself on the past mistake you made, what you should be focus now is make the decision to correct that mistake.
Pay The Highest Interest Loan First
There are many suggestions floating around the Internet on how to prioritize your debt repayment. Some suggests you pay off the debt with the smallest amount to build up the momentum, and there is others suggest you to pay off the debt with highest interest rate. To me, the second suggestion made much more sense and that forms my debt repayment plan.
I am focusing on paying off my highest interest debt (student loan with an annual interest rate of 4.75%). I am holding a minor credit card bill right now but I am not so concern with it because it is a 0% installment plan. I just have to make sure I make the payment every month and I am safe.
Prevent The Leak
Fortunately, my spending habit was already quite frugal, I don’t pay interest on my credit card bill (there are not many product that target single guy), I don’t own a car (you don’t really need to own a car in Singapore and here is why), I cook my own lunch, cycle to work, sleep earlier (this not only helps your body to have adequate rest but also make your wallet thicker since you have less time doing shopping).
The initial amount of my loan is about SGD$15,000 each (Yes, I took up two loan to finance my study). I paid off a grand total of SGD$8,000 in the first 7 years after my graduation (July 2005 to July 2012) and that left me with a balance of SGD$22,000 in July 2012. And I decided to get serious to pay off that loan, I monitor my spending closely, increase my income when opportunity arises, cut down on unnecessary spending, grows my saving.
5 months later, I reached my first milestone in paying off my student loan, I paid off one of the two student loan on me and I am now officially down with just one student loan with the amount of SGD$11,000 (annual interested = 4.75%).
From that little story of mine, I would like to bring up my point in clearing debt quickly, which is get serious. If you are in a debt situation, no matter is it a credit card debt, a car loan, a student loan or even a housing mortgage, it is a debt that bank charge you interest every single day, it should be the first item on your priority list. You should not be in dilemma when choosing between your new fancy smartphone and your debt repayment; there is no point on deciding where to put your furniture when you house is on fire!!! Put out that fire of debt that is burning your early retirement house first before you decide what investment furniture you want to put in the house.
While you are on the way to clear your debt, help yourself by not taking up even more debt, especially credit card debt (this is by far the easiest way for an individual to acquire a consumer debt, just swipe your card and you are $2,000 in debt immediately…).
Also, don’t let those balance transfer deal confuse you. It didn’t make you debt go away, it merely change the ownership of your debt. You still need to know your debt amount, get serious in pay off the debt as quickly as possible. Balance transfer is just a short term solution to help you avoid incurs high interest (up to 28%)on your credit card. If you are currently paying 24-28% plus other charges on your credit card debt, then it might make sense for you to jump around the balance transfer deal while you are working to raise the fund needed to pay off those debts.
So here are the few things I think we need to know to clear debt quickly. The things outlined in this post might be proved too simplified or too complex for your situation, please leave your comment in the comment section if you came across with some great idea on clearing the debt.