If you’re living paycheck to paycheck or simply don’t have enough saved for an emergency fund, the last thing you probably want to think about is taking on another loan and being even further away from financial independence. And you’re not alone: According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, consumer debt rose to $12.73 trillion in the first quarter of 2017.
But taking on a loan often isn’t a bad move: It can help you achieve a higher education (and income), build personal wealth by investing in a home or give you peace of mind on the off chance you encounter an unforeseen emergency.
Whether you want to lower a monthly loan payment to free up some of your budget for other costs, pay your debt off faster or see if you qualify for a lower interest rate on your current debt, there are plenty of flexible options out there to help you with almost any financial goal you have in mind.
Modify Your Debt to Fit Your Budget with a Personal Loan
There are several times when it makes sense to consolidate your debt with a personal loan. Debt consolidation is just another way to say, “Pay off and replace one or more debts with a single loan.”
Here are some popular reasons people choose to consolidate their debt:
Make a single payment each month: Instead of remembering to make multiple credit card payments every month, you’ll only have to make one.
- Get rid of high-interest debt: You might be able to receive a lower interest rate on a personal loan than the rate your credit card offers. Rates vary case by case, but you’ll be able to save if you can get a lower rate, so it’s never a bad idea to check out your options.
- Pay off your debt faster: Instead of paying the minimum balance, personal loans help you choose a repayment plan that fits your budget to get you out of credit card debt within a few years.
- Lower a monthly payment: If lowering your monthly payment is your top financial goal, most lenders offer flexible repayment options that let you borrow for five or more years and lower the amount you owe each month.
- Move debt from revolving credit card to an installment loan
Installment loans, like a personal loan, have a smaller impact on your utilization score since they are allotted in a predetermined amount. Revolving debt, like the debt on a credit card, allows you to use as much of your credit limit as you’d like, which has a bigger impact on your credit score. Moving debt from a revolving line to an installment loan may be one way to bump up your credit score a little bit.
Refinance Your Mortgage
Refinancing your existing mortgage might be the right move since market rates are low. Refinancing to a lower rate or monthly payment will widen your budget to help you save or fund some of your other personal goals. If your goal is to save in total lifetime interest, refinancing your mortgage to a shorter term could help you do this while paying off your home faster.
Another type of popular mortgage refinance is a cash-out refi. A cash-out refinance lets you take the equity you’ve earned and turn it into cash.