spring 2013

f i n a n c i a l
Best practices for debt minimization


Five ways to manage your debt

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Once your schooling is over, and you’re established in your career, developing an inclusive plan to address your debt is important to help maintain a balance in your finances.

By MDPS Staff

Once your schooling is over, and you’re established in your career, developing an inclusive plan to address your debt is important to help maintain a balance in your finances. Here are five best practices to help you move forward, while addressing your debt:

Develop an annual budget. Each year, create a detailed budget by estimating your costs and potential income. Even if your estimates don’t turn out to be very accurate, the process of developing a budget can bring order and a sense of balance and control to your finances.

Use your budget wisely. Once you’ve developed a budget, bring it to life by putting in into practice each month! This means regularly monitoring your spending and assessing where you might be spending more than you’ve planned and identifying places where your spending is under the estimated amount. Schedule a meeting with your financial advisor every year to review your budget, plan for the next year, and stay on track.

Create a holistic financial plan to keep your borrowing under control. In order to bring balance to your finances; work with your advisor to create a holistic financial plan; one that considers your finances over the long term, not just your budget for the next year. Make sure to include all of the goals that are important to you.

Don’t “diversify” your debt. One way you can keep borrowing costs under control is to be aware of different borrowing terms for different sources of borrowed income. For example, interest rates on a secured line of credit (such as a home equity line of credit) will typically be much lower than rates on a credit card. It’s important to be aware of the different interest rates that are charged on the various sources of borrowed money that are available to you, and to ensure you are using the lowest-cost options whenever possible.

Make minimizing debt one of your goals. Finally, your debt won’t disappear without effort on your part. As with any other goal, reaching the finish line takes deliberate planning. Have you made sure that eliminating debt is one of the goals you are working towards? Consider adding a “debt freedom” date to your holistic financial plan, and measure your progress towards this goal each year.

Are you wondering whether you have a workable plan in place to manage your debt? A certified financial advisor can help determine which strategies will work best for you and your situation.



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