Gettin’ Outta Debt pt 9- Paying off “The Death Pledge” aka The Mortgage or any Large Loan

“Death Pledge”.  No this is not a scene from “The God-Father” but that really is what the term “mortgage” means. However,  I like to apply that term to all debt.  Most people back in the day worked until they died and still may not have paid the loan off hence the name “Death Pledge”. With a name like that and from the looks of the guy in the pic above, a mortgage or any large debt is something I don’t want to have anymore. And if I had to get it, let it be as small as possible and more importantly get that *&$**  off my back ASAP!!!

In the final post of this series I will show you using my mortgage figures how beneficial it is to you to pay off “The Death Pledge” as soon as you can. This info can be applied to any large loan. Yeah I know,  the financial experts tell you to invest that money in the stock market or whatever is the hottest investment going around. And that the market historically returns X %. But what they don’t like to tell you is that paying off your debt is a guaranteed return on your money and the less debt you’re carrying like the guy in the pic above,  the better off you are in case of an unexpected change in your financial status like a job loss.

WARNING: This post has boring figures in it and is a tad long but it will save you big money in the future!!!

If you are in the position and desire to pay off the mortgage, make sure whatever extra you are sending is clearly marked “For Principal Only” in the memo section if you are paying by check. It’s even better if you write out a separate check from your regular payment. If you are paying online, look for the section marked “Additional Principal” or something like that and input the extra amount you are paying. Also check the balance with the bank after you’ve made each and every extra payment.

Why am I telling you this? If you don’t do this the bank is not going to automatically assume that you want to pay down your debt at a faster rate and will apply that extra towards future payments. Now you may think well that’s ok, it’s paying down the debt. In a way you are correct. However, the amount of interest especially on a mortgage or any loan for that matter, is on the front end of the loan. This is why you have been making payments for 20 years and still owe just as much as the original price of the house even though it’s 20 years later. What you’ve been paying all that time is mostly interest and very little towards the principal. This is magnified on a 30 or more year loan. Take a look at your amortization table and you’ll see what I mean. If you don’t have one there are calculators with amortization tables on the Internet. I believe at one time the mortgage company was required to give these out but in recent years if you wanted one you have to ask for it. I think too, since they don’t have to do it anymore, some mortgage holders charge for the table. Once you take a look at yours for your loan, you’ll see why they don’t want to provide you with one. The faster you pay down the principal the less money they make in interest.

On a mortgage, the interest is calculated on the remaining principal balance. The larger the balance, the larger the interest portion of the payment is. That’s less money going toward paying down the principal. Remember, principal is just a short cut word for the original amount borrowed or original sales price. Here’s an example from the amortization table on my retired mortgage.

  • On the $48,175 beginning balance on the loan the 1st payment due on August 1st, of $413.06. $250.91 of that payment is going towards interest, the remaining $162.15 goes toward paying down the principal. Principal balance now is $48,012.85.
  • The interest charged on the next payment is figured on the balance of $48,012.85. Now if you make extra payments and for the sake of ease, that total payment is $1,239.18 ($413.06 x 3) but you don’t specify the extra $826.12 is for “principal only”, what they are going to do is apply that amount to your next two payments after the current payment and tell you your due date is November 1st. What this means is you will have paid $499.29 ($250.07 & $249.22 respectively) in interest and only $326.83 ($162.99 & 163.84) pay down of principal. Principal balance $47,686.02. Notice how little the pay down of the principal decreased but you’ve made a $1,239.18 payment.
  • By specifying “for principal only” application of that $826.12 extra payment, the new principal balance that interest is calculated on is $47,185.73. That does not seem like a lot from $47,686.02, a difference of $500.29. But here’s the kicker. $988.27 is applied to principal pay down and only the $250.91 is paid in interest.
  • By not doing this the bank makes $661.44 off of you on this one transaction. Multiply that over the life of the loan and it becomes apparent how profitable it is for folks to remain in debt and not apply extra payments properly.

I had a 15 yr mortgage.  On a 30 year mortgage, the pay down of principal is at a slower rate thereby more interest is paid out. The interest paid will be higher the larger the loan.

The fantastic thing about this, on a fixed rate 30 yr mortgage, by paying $25-$50 extra each month, the payoff  can be reduced by as much as 5 years. One extra mortgage payment either as 1 payment or divided up throughout the year can reduce the payoff down to 18 years. This saves tremendous amounts of interest.

Please don’t pay for anyone to set you up on a “bi-weekly payment plan” or any of that other mess. There is almost always a fee involved, many times a setup fee plus a monthly fee and you are locked into those terms. Take that fee and apply it to your principal yourself. And if for some reason you don’t have the extra you are still in compliance with the terms of the loan by making your regular payment.

Think about the day when you don’t have to make that payment anymore.

I hope this helps.

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Gettin’ Outta Debt pt 8- My Turbocharged Debt Snowball

Hi everyone! I’m back  after a bit of a hiatus to re-post an old post from my “How I Got Out of Debt” series from 2009 and to celebrate (albeit 3 weeks late) 6 years of Debt Freedom. YAY!!!  I still sometimes can’t believe it.

Wipe our Debt

Wipe our Debt (Photo credit: Images_of_Money)

In the last post I showed how to get out of debt years faster with the money that you are already paying out. In this post I will show you how I was able to save even more money by turbocharging my payment plan. In a lot of ways I’m a very patient person but in this case my Aries impatience came out in full force.  I can’t show the actual payment amount since that varied as I mentioned before because my paycheck was not the same each time. So, what I will be showing is the balance, the payoff date, and the savings vs following the status quo payment plan. Then at the end, I’ll show the savings from my turbocharged debt snowball vs the debt snowball I showed in part 7. Remember, the start date was July 2001 and I was in the process of building the emergency fund while starting the debt snowball. My payoff order shown is how the debts are listed in part 7 and the numbers are going to be slightly off because of the payoff dates but not by much. I’m gonna warn you now that there will be lots of repeating of certain phrases and it’s a long post.  But that’s how we learn right…by repetition.  🙂

I started with Visa:

  • Balance-$2,371.53 @ 12% APR. Paid this debt off on 1/23/02, total amount paid: $2,461.29.  If you recall under the status quo payment plan the financial industry was hoping that I would follow because the monthly payment is so low, I would have paid a total of $3,250. By debt snowballing  I did not have to pay them $788.71. Now I consider myself a generous person but not that generous, especially to some banker who’s making more than what I’m making.  $789 dollars would have paid my homeowners insurance for this year (2012).

Next in line was Household Finance:

  • Balance-$1,000 @ 9.9% APR. Paid off this debt on 3/15/02, with the total amount paid of : $1,035.38. Under the status quo plan I would have paid: $1,333.  By debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $297.62.  That’s a bit more than what I paid for my Blackberry Playbook Tablet and a case for it which I’ll be doing a review on later.

The next debt I mowed down was the Car Loan:

  • Balance-$3,571.39 @ 7.9% APR.  Paid off this debt on 8/1/02, with the total amount paid of: $3,726.36.  Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $3,920. By doing this I did not have to shell out an extra $193.64.  That’s almost all my utilities for a month.

Next and done with glee, Capital One and most definitely taken out of my wallet:

  • Balance-$984.43 @ 9.9% APR. Paid off this debt on 11/8/02, with the total amount paid of: $1,055.92. Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $1,292. By debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $236.08.  That’s another month’s utilities,  groceries etc.

Next, with even more excitement, Bank of America:

  • Balance-$4,588 @ 9.52% APR.  Paid off this debt on 4/11/03, with the total amount paid of :$5,007.69.  Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $5,253.  By debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $ 245. Don’t know about y’all but I can sure think of plenty of other things to do with $245 than to give it to some bank unless it’s a deposit into my savings account. 😉

Next on the chopping block, the Perkins Loan:

  • Balance-$2,027.15 @ 5% APR. Paid off this debt on 5/21/03 with the total amount paid of: $2,128.95. Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $2,320. By debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $191.05.  Starting to add up isn’t it?

Next, Direct Student Loans and where it started to become fun:

  • Balance-$5,786.44 @ 4.22 % APR. Paid off this sucker on 8/29/03 with the total amount paid of: $6,064.23. Under the status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $7,352.80. By debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $1,288.57. That’s $1,288.57 that I did not have to earn to put in someone else’s pocket!

Last but not least the mortgage, where I was laughing like Renfro with each payment:

  • Balance-$48,175 @ 6.25% APR. Paid off this monstrosity on 6/2/06 with the total amount  paid of $54,436.34.  Under the loan shark, oops I mean status quo financial industry plan I would have paid $74,763.86.  By debt snowballing I did not have to pay them $20,327.52.   This is just a bit below what my yearly take home pay was during my journey to debt freedom.

My total savings or what I refer to as money I do not  have to come up with by following the loan shark’s (oops I did it again) status quo financial industry plan, $23,568.19!!  Now that ain’t chump change and if it is to you can drop me a line so I can send you my PayPal info for a gift in that amount. 🙂 Recall from part 7  by utilizing the debt snowball, the savings was $16,235 which is not chump change either.  However by focusing and redirecting a huge portion of any extra funds I had to turbocharge the debt snowball, I saved another $7,333. Nothing to sneeze at there either. Not to mention the fact that you have to earn way more that $7,333  for the privilege of paying that. 

I hope that you see just how costly it is to you and profitable for the finance industry to remain in debt. That’s why I kept repeating “By debt snowballing I did not have to pay…”  Sorry, but you can never remain above water by continually paying out interest. Where we tend to fail is that we are more concerned about what the payment per month is, instead of focusing on how much in total it is going to cost. And the fact that you are going to have to come up with that payment(S) each and every month for a very long time. And the hours you have to work to make the money to make the payments. I can say this because that was me before I got the message from that cosmic 2 by 4 went oops upside my head for the umteenth time.

Unless you are paying cash, the total price paid is always going to more than the original price using credit. That’s compound interest working against you as most loans are not simple interest loans anymore. What that basically means to you is that they are getting their interest money upfront. That’s why you’ve made hundreds and in the case of a mortgage (thousands) of dollars in payments but your payoff balance is damn near the same as when you first took out the loan. If you have to borrow, and only if you have to, the key is to pay that crap off as fast as you can. The faster you do it, the less it costs you and the more money you have for other things later. Better yet, you can decide on how your money is gonna work instead of your bills deciding what you are gonna do.

I was in already in debt when I bought my home in 2000 so it took me 6 long years with many life happens things happening that cost big dollars and set me back. You know, the 1 step forward, 5 steps back life happens kind of stuff. Finally on June 2, 2006, I was debt free. If your debts are larger and your income is not that big, it is naturally gonna take longer. Remember what I said at the beginning of the this series, that getting out of debt is a lot like locking your hair, going natural or even dieting. It take loads of hard work, patience, determination and thick skin. You gotta get to the point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired of paying out all this money for stuff you don’t even remember what you spent it on and many times have nothing to show for it. However the result is so, so worth it. And it never goes out of style.

We all want nice stuff and to look good but when life happens in your household, those designers, car makers, fill in the blank aren’t going to give a rats behind about your situation. And please stop worrying about what BayBay & ’em are going to say or think. I’ve learned that folks are gonna talk about you no matter what you do. These same folks ain’t gonna have a dime to help you out when you really need it and they are still gonna talk about you. Most of the time they are worse off than you and want to keep you in that crab barrel along with them because you woke up to the fact that we’ve been played and have been for a very long time. On some level they realize it too hence the put down remarks.

So there you have it. The debt snowball, get the heck out of debt, don’t have to pay nobody any money to do and a real person who’s done it, and showed ya how to do it, plan. I know everyone’s circumstances are different but if you have the income, it can be done. It may take years as I’ve shown.

Stay tuned for part 9 of this series where I will talk about the death pledge aka “The Mortgage”.

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Gettin’ Outta Debt pt3- The Debt Snowball

This is a repost that’s part of a series I did back in August 2009 when this blog was on Blogger.  I feel the info is just as relevant today as it was back then.

20 Dollars art3

via Wikipedia

OK, I’m back from pt 2 of this series to continue my talk on the way I used “Debt Proof Living” by Mary Hunt.  Another one of her “tools” that I liked and used is what she calls the “RDRP-Rapid Debt Repayment Plan”. Other financial gurus call this “snowballing debt” or “debt snowball”. Debt snowballing is not anything new. Now, financial software such as Quicken and MS Money have this as part of their mid-range and/or deluxe offerings of the software. If you are trying to get out of debt this is well worth the extra $15-20 over the basic version if you are going to use this type of software for your finances. I think you can do this on spreadsheet programs too. This is a plan for you to get out of debt with the money that you are currently paying all your creditors but in a much faster way than following the traditional method of paying down debt. And best of all, you can DIY.  No, it’s not “voodoo economics” to borrow the term coined by George Bush Sr, nor is it “creative financing” or magic, but a plan that actually works. However, there is a catch. I’ll go into that later because it’s key to this plan working.

Basically you start off by listing all of your debts by name, APR (aka the interest rate, which is the additional money that you pay for the “privilege” of using their card/loan, or whatever for any one who does not know what that means), your payment amount and the balance owed. There are a 2 ways to do this plan. One gets you out of debt a little faster because you are paying less interest. The other is a tad slower but may provide you with an kick start to get your behind in gear because you’re seeing some immediate results. If that sounds confusing, hang in there with me and you’ll see what I mean.

Method 1) List all debts starting with the highest interest rate( APR), the next highest, all the way down to the lowest interest rate debt.

Method 2) List all debts starting with the debt that has the lowest payoff/balance, next lowest and on up to the highest balance.

You can find the APR listed in the printed material that is on your credit card bill or on the loan paperwork that you signed. Now there are debt calculators all over the internet if you don’t have financial software. I highly suggest you look these up and plug your numbers in. I’ll warn you though, when you see how much you’ll end up paying back if you pay back the way your creditors want you too… you may want to fix a really stiff cocktail.

Anyway, the higher the interest rate and the longer you take to pay it off, the more you’re gonna end up paying. That’s why Method #1 results in a faster payoff because you are paying off the highest interest rate loans first.

Method #2 is good if you need a little bit of encouragement, like that 1st 5 pounds that you lose when you’re on a diet. You’re so excited that you begin to think twice about that nice looking piece of chocolate cake. Alright, let me stop talkin’ about food before I have to go and find somethin’ to snack on, that I know I should not be eatin’. lol A lot of the time the smallest debt you have is one of the lower interest rate debts, though not always. Remember I said earlier, on the higher the interest rate loan, the longer you take to pay it off the more you end up paying.  It still results in years earlier payoff and big interest savings in that you will not have to pay it, just not as much as if you follow Method #1. Now I followed Method #1, including my mortgage at the bottom of the list as the last debt to be paid because I was determined not to pay the bankers one extra dime.

OK, now for the catch I mentioned earlier. You’ve got to follow these 3 rules very strict and to the letter unless it’s a dire emergency and I mean dire emergency. These are from the book and paraphrased leaving out one step as it’s already been done. That’s the listing of your debts.

1)NO NEW DEBT!!! Yes, I’m shouting but I want to make sure you hear me. You can’t get out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself if you keep making the hole deeper and at the same time you are shoveling more dirt on top.

2)Pay the same monthly payment regardless if the loan/credit card issuer says your minimum payment is less than it was the month before. Don’t fall for those “payment holidays” either. You know, right around Black Friday shopping day where they say “oh don’t worry about making that payment. Go Christmas, Easter( insert holiday of the month) shopping with that and you can start back paying next month”. Ignore them by saying thanks but no thanks. Keep making that payment. You can always pay over the amount but not less.

And last, but just as important as #1, & 2.

3) As each debt is paid in full, take that money and apply it to the next debt in line.

Example: Lets say you had JC Penny as your 1st debt @ $50 per month, Macy’s as your 2nd debt @$100 per month, Home Depot next @$150 per month and GMAC (your car note) last at $300. Doesn’t matter which method you are using in case you’re wondering. Make all the minimum required payments each month as listed. When you’ve paid off JC Penny’s debt you take that payment (the $50) and add it to the Macy’s payment of $100. So now instead of sending Macy’s $100 like you were before, you are now sending them $150 every month until it’s paid off. Then when you’ve paid off Macy’s (which you will have done at a much faster rate than you were before because you were sending $150 instead off $100), you add that $150 payment to the Home Depot payment. You are now sending Home Depot $300 per month. Before you know it you’ve paid off Home Depot.  Next, you take that $300 payment and add it to your car note so now you are sending GMAC $600. Before you know it, you’ve paid off your last debt. Just by diligently following those steps you’ll pay off your debts way ahead of schedule saving you lots of interest. If you get REAL SERIOUS by cutting your lifestyle to find extra $ in your current budget, you can make this happen even faster thereby saving you money that you would otherwise be paying out in interest. You can’t get ahead while filling out a check with somebody’s name on that line. That’s what you are doing by paying out interest.

Stay tuned for part 4...

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One way to get more money in your check


OK guys it’s that time of the year where some of you have received or will be receiving your W-2s in a couple of weeks. If you are one of those that get back $1-$3,000 thousand dollar plus tax refunds this post is for you.

Many people think that by having the most amount withheld to get the largest refund possible is a good idea. This is not good because what you are doing is giving out a loan at 0% interest. Now unless you are paying on a loan from a gracious family member, you are paying way more than 0% interest. On a $1,000 refund means you are having $80 more or less too much a month that is being withheld out of your check. That’s money you could be funding your emergency fund with while making compound interest work FOR YOU or pay down high interest debt. With the rates still being as pitiful as they are, it’s still $2+ dollars more than what you had. There are tools on the Internet that will help you figure out what your withholding number should be. Also MS Money Deluxe, Quicken Deluxe or whatever the mid to higher level program selection has this as part of the program for those that use financial software. While the goal is to break even it is a bit hard to achieve so you want to keep that number as low as possible.

Though it’s too late to do anything about tax year 2009 you can do this for 2010 and beyond.

A Wise Young Woman

I had to feature this young lady’s vlog on here since part of my blog content is about personal finance. I commented on this video and what she replied back really impressed me in terms of where she is on a maturity level. She is only 24 but in regards to her finances she has more sense than some of us almost 3 times her age. When I run across young people with this kind of level headedness and plain ole common sense I have to give them their props because what she is talking about in this video has been going on for quite some time. My comment to her was this is the main reason why we do not have any real wealth and nothing to pass down to future generations. Michelle Singletary has a great quote that I love. It is, “If it’s on your ass it is NOT an asset.