I’ve thought about this on and off for a while and it comes down to the definition of saving. Am I saving money if I purchase something on sale or is it only saving if I am putting money in the bank? What if the bank is only paying 0.05% interest on my savings but the cost of living is going up 3%? Am I still saving if I am putting money in the bank?
What a tangled web we weave!
That brings me to the point of this post. Am I saving money if I pay off debt? In my mind, the answer is a resounding – YES!
Let’s look at the credit card first. For this argument, I will assume that there is a balance on the credit card of $5000 and the interest rate is 12.9%. In that scenario, the minimum payment is $200. The overall amount you will pay if you simply pay the minimum payment is $6763.82. It will take you Nine Years and Eight Months to pay it off. That all assumes that nothing else has been added to the account.
When I think about that, and the idea that I need to be paying $200 every month for over nine years, I immediately get to a place where I think paying off that debt is saving. There are just so many other things I could do with an extra $200 every month. Then I think about how the credit card company is getting $1763.82 over that time for doing nothing! They loaned me money and now, by the time it is over, I will have given them all that in return for the “privilege” of using their service. It’s likely that most, if not all, of the items I purchased with that credit card, are no longer in my possession.
The Frustration Mounts!
Don’t feel bad. These are the feelings I went through while I was trying to pay off debt. The Little Debt-Free Book: A Personal Journey was written because I wanted to try and help at least one person realize how much money they were working for that was no longer theirs.
I have a question for you. How many hours per month do you need to work just to pay the minimums on your debts? Include everything from the mortgage, the car payment, student loans, and credit cards.
That’s what got me. I was working so many hours per month just to pay the minimum payments! That didn’t include the things I was paying cash for. I realized how much of my “life-time” I was spending working for someone else. Why? Because I wanted whatever it was that I had purchased at the time – right away. Almost everything I currently have, I will no longer have in nine years. I’ll be lucky if I even have my car in nine years.
Pay It Off!
By paying off all my debt, I was able to work the hours I wanted to work, save what I thought I could and still spend quality time with my family doing the things that mattered – making memories! Vacations, gifts, college, cars for the kids, and just spending more time together.
What is more important to you? Getting the latest phone or getting out of debt and spending time with the ones you love?
It’s a choice we all make every day.
But Is It Saving?
Simply the amount you are NOT spending on interest is saving! Think about it. If you paid off all your debts and simply put the interest you had been paying on those debts into a Mutual Fund, how much would you be able to put into a mutual fund every year?
Not having debt gives you a raise in the amount that you were paying in debt. So, back to the beginning. If you no longer had $5000 on a credit card, paying $200 per month, at the end of a year, just taking that $200, you could have $2400 in a mutual fund making money for you instead of working however many hours you needed to pay that bill.
I challenge you to pay your debts and be in a place where money is no longer an issue in your life.
Read about my journey and see if it makes sense to you.
If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.
I’m never too busy for your referrals.
Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®