Taking on debt is an unavoidable fact of life and is often an important step towards improving your long-term financial standing. However, in a world of cheap and easy credit, it can become far too easy to take on an unsustainable debt load. According to debt.org, the average household debt in America now stands at over $137,000.
This is compared to a median household income of $61,372, meaning that on average, Americans have a totally unsustainable debt-to-income ratio. If your monthly debt payments taking up too big a chunk of your gross monthly salary, then it is time to reduce your debt-to-income ratio before you risk destroying your financial standing.
Let’s take a look at some of the easiest and most effective ways to do that.
1. Secure More Favorable Interest Rates
A huge part of your monthly outgoings can end up being used simply to service interest rates, without having any impact on the actual amount of debt that you hold. As explained by bestpersonalloans.com, a financial website that specializes in connecting people with personal financing, the interest rates on a loan should be one of the most important things you look at when applying for any kind of financing. If you are already trapped in a high-interest loan, you can either negotiate with the lender for better rates, or you can refinance your loan with someone else to secure a more generous repayment plan.
2. Pay Off Each Credit Card in Full, One-by-One
If you are carrying multiple credit card debts, it might be tempting to incrementally increase repayments on all of them simultaneously in order to bring down your debt. However, this is not the best approach. What you should really be doing is focusing on one credit card at a time and diverting resources to paying it off in full before moving onto the next one. This will reduce the amount of extra cash you spend on fees and interest rates, allowing you to bring down your credit card debt more quickly.
3. Submit Extra Repayments
Naturally, this might be easier said than done, but it is certainly worth pursuing if you can. As thebalance.com explains, you can start making extra optional repayments on all of your loans to bring down your debt more quickly and avoid paying more over time. It is better to redirect money towards making extra repayments, rather than saving that money for your regular debt repayments over a longer period. Just be careful when doing this, as some providers charge a fee for early repayments.
4. Boost Your Income
Finally, you can start exploring ways to boost your income so that your debt-to-income ratio is favorable. This could involve picking up a side-hustle such as freelance writing or drop-shipping. It could involve picking up more shifts at work, or selling any unwanted items you have lying around the house. Even a short, temporary boost in your income can have a substantial impact on your long-term debt-to-income ratio, so start looking at ways you can bring in some extra cash.
Your debt-to-income ratio is essentially an indicator of whether or not you are living in your means. If yours is too high, take these steps to lower it today.