SHOULD YOU PAY OFF DEBT OR SAVE AND INVEST?

 

 


 

RULE # 1:   If your debt interest rate is higher than your targeted investment return, than prioritize paying off debtPlace your money where it does the most good.

https://wealthbuildingpowers.com/2018/04/05/four-steps-to-achieve-financial-freedom-by-becoming-debt-free/

If you want to invest in the S&P 500 ETF, which averages about eight to ten percent annual returns you should prioritize paying off HIGH INTEREST credit card debt which can be as high as ~30%.

The good news, student loan interest rates (4.79% to 7.5%) are reasonable compared to most credit cards.  The bad news, student loan debt can take considerable time and focus to pay off.  If you are one of the lucky ones with student loan interest rates lower than eight percent, you may be better to pay the minimum student loan and max your savings contributions. Another option is to pay extra towards your loan but still save and invest.  You must find the right balance for you!

 

FIRST EXCEPTION -SAVING FOR EMERGENCIES

 

Emergencies/SHI_ HAPPENS! For the month of January, I had to replace my heating system and refrigerator. {YUCK} If I did not have the money to pay, I would have been forced to charge the thousands of dollars to a credit card.  For YOUR OWN GOOD, build up to six months of living expenses in an emergency fund. Begin with what you can afford $1,000, or less or more.  Set a target date to accumulate your six months of living expenses in savings.  See below blog to get higher interest rates: EARNING MAXIMUM RETURNS ON YOUR EMERGENCY SAVINGS.

After building adequate emergency savings shift to AGGRESSIVE debt repayment or savings and investments!

 

https://wealthbuildingpowers.com/2019/01/14/government-shutdown-demonstrates-why-emergency-savings-is-not-a-want-but-an-essential-need/

https://wealthbuildingpowers.com/2019/01/21/earning-maximum-returns-on-your-emergency-savings/

 

SECOND EXCEPTION- COLLECTING 401K COMPANY MATCH DOLLARS

 

ALWAYS capture your company’s match.  If your company matches three percent, NEVER-EVER TURN DOWN PART OF YOUR COMPENSATION! – CONTRIBUTE AT LEAST THREE PERCENT.  I made the mistake of saying an employee match is free money.  I WAS WRONG!  (Go ahead and take a picture of this page. {My wife and good friend Jake can assure you – words I do not say often!}.

A company match is NOT free money. It’s part of your planned compensation. Matching dollars are considered a compensation expense on the financial reports for your company.  Your company assumes you are SMART ENOUGH to accept part of your BASE SALARY!  Annie’s base salary is $120,000. Her company’s match is three percent, so her company has budgeted $123,600 plus benefits and bonus for Annie’s compensation, excluding benefits and bonus. By not contributing a minimum of three percent, Annie is telling her CFO, “Hey – It’s me the dummy, please take that $3,600 and keep it! The CFO is high fiving and praying for more dummies. DO NOT MAKE HER DAY!

 

https://wealthbuildingpowers.com/2019/06/10/401k-millionaire-club/

 

LOWER YOUR DEBT INTEREST RATES

 

 

Look into lowering debt interest rate.   You can reduce your interest rate by using a credit card transfer.  You may get a low promotional interest rate, such as 0% financing, for several months  (if you have good credit scores). Move your debt from a credit card with a high rate to the new card, and you may have several months of no interest before the promotional rate expires. You may pay a balance transfer fee of around 3% of the transferred balance, but this option could still be  cheaper than paying 15% -30%  interest or more on your existing credit cards.

 

CONCLUSION

 

YOUR MISSION SHOULD YOU ACCEPT IT IS SIMPLE. {FYI – REFUSAL IS NOT AN OPTION}  Pay off all non-value added and high interest debt AS SOON AS REASONABLY POSSIBLE!  A credit card debt, at ~30% can almost double in three years if you are paying interest only.  Do NOT fall into this trap.

You want to pay your student loan debt to ZERO sooner versus later. HOWEVER, just like in life you have multiple number one priorities.  You must start saving and investing early.  Few of you, with the exception of government employees, will have a pension.  Will Social Security be there when you retire?   Flip a coin.

 

You are responsible for your retirement years.  GET TO WORK AND MAKE IT A GREAT RETIREMENT!

 

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ABOUT ME

 

I am a proud nerd (as my beautiful wife and daughter have told me) investment and finance blogger, with a NC State, Chemical Engineering, University Rutgers, MBA and Harvard University, Advanced Management education.

I left a corporate career because I had a desire for making a difference as a speaker and writer, to help others. I was blessed to be coached and mentored by strong women and men in both my family and professional life.  It is my time to serve and give back.

DISCLAIMER

 

I started my first business at ~13 years of age (small but brilliantly created plant nursery). I am a successful investor in stocks, options, real estate and happy to share my personal finance and investment lessons learned with you.

However, I am NOT a licensed financial advisor.  Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog, as recommendations for your personal situation.  For individual finance advice please seek your own licensed CPA or fiduciary financial advisors.  

I write this weekly blog to make an impact by reaching an audience and demonstrating the need for financial literacy. I will help you get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Powers Investments Management, LLC

This blog will provide, information and simple strategies, that will assist you to achieve YOUR financial objectives and long term targets. For over 30 years, I solved multi-million dollar problems, for Fortune 10-250, companies. My formal education includes: Business, Finance and Chemical Engineering {Problem Solving} at: Harvard, Rutgers and North Carolina State. And an additional 30+ years, managing my family’s investment decisions. I currently manage/advise people with net-worths ranging from the tens of thousands to several million dollars.

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