I grew up as the oldest of 8 children. My mother was a full time mom and my dad worked 80 hours a week or the maximum he could. This was not a factory job that paid $25 an hour either, think closer to the current minimum wage rate. My parents did a great job making the finances work and that is where I forged many of my lessons and fiscal responsibilities. When they needed more money my dad would work more, even if this meant taking an extra $5 an hour job.
I apologize to anyone that I have led to believe I grew up wealthy. The same thing applies to our current financial situation. I am far from wealthy, but my wife and I go to great lengths to invest any extra money we have and make the most of our money. I believe that maximizing value is important. If I am going to spend $500 paying off debt, I’m going to attack the debt that is most debilitating. I go out of my way to save $5 and shop around for even small purchases. Why then, would I pay down low interest options aggressively when this strategy is foolish and will end up costing me money.]]>
We calculate interest rates using the formula I=prt (Interest = principal x rate x time)
So for the $8,000 amount Interest = $8,000 x .03 x .8333 = $200
And for the $10,000 amount Interest = $10,000 x .12 x .8333 = $1,000
The total interest accrued over the 10 months was $1,200, your $10,000 loan becomes an $11,000 loan and your $8,000 loan becomes an $8,200 loan.
Paying $500 per month paying off the smallest debt first will cost $5,366 in interest and take 57 months vs. paying off the highest interest first will cost $1,750 in interest and take 50 months.
Ultimately you must decide if you would rather pay off your debt 7 months earlier and save $3,600. However your point that “Sure, they might lose some money in interest but they are much more likely to pay off the debt (and quicker too) ” is incorrect, you pay your debt off nearly half a year faster.
I would much rather have a big victory after 4 years with almost $4,000 extra in my pocket than to feel like I am doing great, but really be doing myself a disservice. If nothing else, you can look at the extra money you saved by paying off your debt faster and smarter and take a vacation with that money or you could send half of it to me in appreciation for the excellent advice.]]>
I did want to comment on one more thing. You talk about Dave Ramsey pushing his products on poor/broke people. If you listen to his radio show on a regular basis, he actually mentions that if you can’t afford his products, go borrow one of his books from the library. He also makes almost everything he writes available for free on his website, including budget tools. Sure, he also pimps his paid products but he gives away a lot for free as well.
I really don’t understand your grudge against Dave Ramsey. Is it because he’s religious? Or what? He has done a lot for the chronically broke and his radio show listeners collectively pay off something like $20 million in debt in a year – and that’s just counting the ones who call in. There are thousands of other people who pay off thousands of dollars just by following Dave Ramsey’s advice. And Dave Ramsey is a genuinely nice guy, his company has been voted one of the best companies to work for in Nashville for many years. You don’t get accolades like that from being what you call a “modern day snake oil salesman.”
If you really want to expose people or get down to the nitty gritty, go chase down some of those “weight loss wrap” sales people. Now there’s where you’ll find your snake oil salesmen…
And for the record, I am not a Dave Ramsey employee and I don’t get anything from talking about him. I’m a friend/former classmate of your wife’s. I just think it’s a little rude to tear down someone just because his methods don’t work for your goals. There are a lot of other financial gurus out there you can try.]]>
I have tried for years to teach my mother how to budget, how to get out of debt, etc. She eventually filed for bankruptcy last year (for the 2nd time in her adult life) and as part of her debt counseling, she took a Dave Ramsey class. And finally, budgeting made sense to her. She didn’t like the giving 10% to charity so she left that out of her budget but she has been making great strides with making a budget and sticking to it. Her husband (my step-father) even had an emergency appendectomy earlier this year that left them with several thousand dollars in medical bills (after insurance) and she just finished paying them off.
She used the debt snowball and it WORKED for her. She paid off the little bills like the ultrasound first. Then, she worked on the bigger bills like the anesthesiologist (whoa, they’re pricey). Finally, she paid off the biggest bill that came directly from the hospital. The principle of the debt snowball allows people to pay off the tiny bills first, thus freeing up money in their budget to throw at the bigger bills. Sure, they might lose some money in interest but they are much more likely to pay off the debt (and quicker too) than someone that attempts to “save money” by paying off the highest interest (which is often the biggest bill for people with bad credit). They get frustrated, annoyed and just plain tired of paying and paying. The debt snowball gives them quick “wins” that keep them motivated.
Again, for someone who’s always had lots of money or who grew up in a family that had plenty of money, this probably makes no sense. But for someone who grew up in poverty (like myself) or someone who has never budgeted (like my mother when she was going through bankruptcy), it just makes sense.]]>
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