Getting debt-free is never easy but something that many people want to accomplish. The typical approach that most people take when trying to pay off their debt is to try and pay off the debts with the most interest, or largest amounts, first. While, mathematically, this is a sound approach, it can often become frustrating and end in failure.
If you’ve struggled to stay consistent in your efforts to pay off your debt, you may want to consider using the Debt Snowball Plan. This approach has been shown to be effective as a means to pay off debt without losing momentum or leading to frustration.
How the Snowball Plan Works
When paying off your debt, rather than attempting to pay off the largest amounts first, you should first tackle the smaller debts. By paying off the smaller debts first, you will quickly see progress as you pay off the smaller amounts faster which will help encourage you to continue with your goals.
To start, make a list of all of your debts (minus your mortgage) and list them from highest amount to lowest. Next, each month make the minimum payment necessary for each debt except the very lowest. With your smallest debt amount, pay more than the minimum payment – as much as you can. Once you’ve paid off your smallest debt amount, take what you were paying on that debt and apply it to the monthly payment of your next largest debt amount while continuing to pay only the minimum on all other debts.
An example of this method could look like this:
Credit card 1: $500 at 14% with a monthly payment of $25.
Credit card 2: $1,000 at 18% with a monthly payment of $50
Car loan: $6,000 at 5% over 4 years with a monthly payment of $135.
Student loan: $15,000 at 5% over 10 years with a monthly payment of $159.
Using the Debt Snowball Plan, you would pay the minimum amount on each of your debts but by adding an extra $100 to your smallest credit card payment, you would pay it off in 4 months. Next, you would apply the $125 you were paying on the smallest credit card payment to the second credit card to a total of $175 per month. The second card will then be paid off in 5 months. Once the second card is paid off you can add the $175 to the car payment of $135 for a total of $310 to put toward your monthly car payment – paying it off in 15 months.
Continuing with this method on your student loans and you’ll be debt-free in just another 24 months’ time. This method will help you keep the momentum going and prevent you from becoming discouraged along the way.
Personal Credit Scores & Business Loans
Will Your Personal Credit Score Affect Your Business Loan Application?
Congratulations! You’ve decided to begin the process of applying for a small business loan. This is an exciting time for your new or existing company and could forecast many great things.
If this is your first time applying for a business loan, you might not be aware of the potential barriers that can get in your way. After all, receiving a business loan for your start-up or expansion can be competitive, and banks want to ensure that they trust only the best with their investments. Before you jump all in, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of the things that could qualify or even disqualify you from receiving funding.
One of these factors is your personal credit score.
If you are a small business owner in the United States, the three credit bureaus track two profiles: your personal financial history and your business credit history. Each profile plays a vital role in getting approved for a business loan. However, if your starting a new business or your existing business doesn’t have established business credit, the lender may rely more heavily on your personal creditworthiness when making their lending decision.
While your personal credit score and business credit profile express different information about you and your business, both have a substantial impact on the options available to your business and your ability to qualify for a loan.
Why Lenders Care About Your Personal Credit Score
Some business owners don’t think that their personal credit score has much of an impact when it comes to their organization. This just isn’t the case. A potential creditor is going to consider your personal credit score when making a decision to grant your company a business loan.
In general, a potential lender is going to view your credit score to determine if you:
Have the ability to repay the loan?
Are going to repay the loan?
Will pay the loan even if something unexpected happens?
Lenders see your credit score as an insight into your financial health and responsibility. Unfortunately, if a lender sees that you are not able to manage your personal finances, they may assume that you are a high risk for managing business finances as well. This is especially true if you are a new business owner. Without an established business history or credit to your company’s name, the only way the lender will be able to determine creditworthiness is by accessing your personal credit score.
How is my credit score calculated?
Three primary credit bureaus generate a credit score for lenders to access. Each reporting agency uses the same basic FICO formula to score the information that they collect. They also obtain personal information such as full legal name, date of birth, employment history, address, etc. They also list a summary of information that was provided to them by your creditors. Other information found in public records like bankruptcy or judgments are also included on your credit report and factored into your score. Each time that you apply for credit is also recorded on your report.
There are primary differences in the way that the three credit bureaus review and calculate your personal credit history. For example, Transunion holds more detail about your employment information, Equifax separates your accounts that are open and closed, and Experian will record data like whether or not you are paying your rent and other bills on time. Essentially, these agencies are competitors, and lenders may choose to report to one bureau and not the other. While their data might include different results, their score is typically similar.
Importance of a Good Credit Score For Your Business
While you may not feel that your personal credit history is the best representation of how you will meet and exceed your business’s financial obligations, the need to establish and maintain a positive credit score is vital for every small business owner. Most banks and lenders take a close look at your credit score when they evaluate your worthiness as a business borrower and even consider the score in their decision-making process – regardless of how long your business has been operating.