| Olivia Heerenveen
So you discovered long ago that your savings aren’t going to cut it, now that you are paying monthly payments in debt. Towards your car, your house, your student loans. It just doesn’t seem to end.
So how do you make a plan to make sure you are debt-free before turning 40?
#1 Make your money visual.
It sounds kind of strange but write down all the monthly money that comes in and goes out on a piece of paper. For payments made towards debt use a red pen. For money coming in use a green pen, for all other money going out use a blue pen. By visualizing your money in different colors you can see quickly how the balance is. Is there more red than blue or green, then it’s important to take a good hard look at your expenses towards debt. Is it more balanced, then you could be heading towards a debt-free life before 40.
Calculate your monthly income, your payments, and the percentage of payments that go towards debt. By knowing the percentage that goes towards debt, you will know if you need to reduce that number and at which rate.
#3 Decrease your debt on a yearly basis
It could very well be, that around 40% of your income goes towards your debt. Set a goal to decrease your debt so you pay less percentage per year and end up with 0% by the time you are 40. For instance. If you are paying 40% in debt, try to lower this by 4% per year.
#4 It’s a marathon not a race
Make sure to keep track of your financial health all the time. It’s not something you do in just one afternoon. You need to check up regularly and make sure you are still focused on your end goal. However be aware that your goal could change. For instance if you buy a house, you will most probably get a big debt (mortgage) attached to it. But that’s okay. Because now you have an investment. So always be sensible about your money and make sure that it goes towards goals that will make your life easier and happier.