Are you overwhelmed by debt? Will you do whatever it takes to erase these debts to help restore your finances back? Before you throw in the towel, relax, there are good and bad ways to pay off your debt.
Of course, if you have it, the best way to pay off your debt is with cash, but if you don’t have the savings, you might turn to other faster, quicker means to rid yourself of said debt. However, these usually result in more harm than good.
Don’t use these methods to pay off debt if you can avoid them:
1. Don’t Ask for a Credit Card Cash Advance: Don’t get fooled into thinking the rate for a cash advance is the same as your standard rate. It’s usually much higher, and often doesn’t come with a grace period.
2. Don’t Dip into Your 401(k): Don’t tap into your retirement funds until you do just that – retire. Additionally, if you when you borrow from your 401(k), you must pay the money back sooner or later, or you will be burdened with paying taxes and a penalty.
3. Don’t Borrow From Those Close You: If you don’t want to ruin relationships, avoid borrowing from friends and family. If you don’t repay what you borrow or on time, or at all, it could kill your relationship. Is that a risk you are willing to take?
4. Don’t Borrow Against a Life Insurance Policy: You can do this correctly or incorrectly. If you do it wrong, this is one of the worst ways to pay off your debt. When you borrow against your policy, you can get the money you need to pay down higher interest debt. However, if you don’t pay back the money before you die, the outstanding balance will be deducted from the death benefit. As a result, those left behind will be in a bad spot. Because you never know what the future will be, you may want to put this idea aside.
5. Don’t Cash Out Retirement Funds: While some people go beyond taking a loan and deciding to cash out some (or all) of their retirement account, it could lead to trouble. While it is your right, just know that you will pay taxes on the withdrawal; and will be penalized if you take the money before the right age; and you will also forego the growth potential of the withdrawn funds, to name a few of the consequences.
6. Don’t Use a Home Equity Loan Incorrectly: This is one of the most common mistakes, since many people have equity in their homes but not much cash in the bank. With credit card debt you can get slapped with interest and your credit score may even suffer, if you make late payments, but it is not attached to your home.
7. Selling It All Off: Never consider selling off your belongings as a means of paying off debt. Don’t even think of getting rid of your Plasma TV or sports car, to get out of debt. This is a bad way to pay off debt if there’s any chance you will turn around and buy these high end items again on credit.
8. Don’t File Bankruptcy: Many think filing for bankruptcy can solve all your issues, but did you know this can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years? Unless it is your last option, don’t file for bankruptcy.
If you find yourself in debt, don’t choose or rely on any of these above methods to help you climb out of the hole. There are better ways that may take longer, and more work, but you’ll be better off in the grand scheme of things.