Category Archives: Personal Finances

The Minimum Monthly Payment Trap 2!

In my last post, I told you two ways your loan balance can continue to increase.

Even when you are making your minimum monthly payments, 

  • if you miss your minimum monthly payment, and/or
  • whenever you are allowed to pay less than your minimum monthly payment
    • your loan balance may continue to increase.
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Other scenarios in which your loan balance will continue to rise:

A ‘debt relief’ program promises you can make ‘smaller payments’

  • than the standard/reasonable minimum monthly payments, and
  • used by some unscrupulous lenders to trap you
    • into perpetual debt.
  • Some government and/or education loans repayment plan are also
    • income driven, i.e. based on
      • how much you earn not
      • how much is required to pay off the loan
        • in a reasonable period of time.
  • Example 1: you owe $25,000, at 15% annual interest rate computed on the balance each month
    • The minimum payment is 2% or $500.
      • “That’s too high”,  you say,  “can you help me?”
      • “Can I pay $200 per month please?”
      • Sure”, the lender says, “just for you!”
      • What you may not realize is that
        • $200 does not cover your monthly interest ($314).s
        • The difference ($314 – $200)
          • is added to your loan balance
          • (the interest has been ‘capitalized’)
            • which continues to earn interest.
  • Example 2: The Education Department Income Driven Repayment Plan (IDRP)
    • provides relief to people allowing them to make payments
      • based on how much they earn
      • on loan balances that earn interest each day
        • until the to total balance is paid off.
    • As above, you may be making all regular required payments
      • but your actual loan balance could be increasing!!

You make regular minimum payments but

  • if the interest rate is high and if
  • the loan balance is continually earning interest,
    • your loan balance will continue to increase; in fact
    • the loan balance will double approximately
      • every 70/(interest rate) years
        • according to the ‘Rule of 70’:
          • an amount that grows at the rate of ‘x’ per period
            • will double approximately every 70/x periods.
      • Example, a credit card balance of $25,000 at 15% annual interest rate
        • will double every 70/15 = 4.7 years (4 years and 8 months)
        • If you make every minimum required payment of 2%,
          • The balance will double every 70/13 = 5 years and 5 months.

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Note: 

  • Some credit card loans will have lower/higher interest rates.
  • Some loans (some mortgages, car notes)
    • have interest calculated over the life of the loan.

Final Take Away

  • If possible, avoid loans
    • for which the interest rate is calculated frequently
      • on the outstanding balance.
  • Make sure your minimum payments at least cover your interest
    • in each period.
  • Make sure your minimum payments covers some of your principal each time
    • If not the make additional payment to cover
      • paying down your principal.

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Email me at reach4himwdray@gmail.com

You Can Do It!  Let’s Do This!!

The Minimum Monthly Payment Trap!!

As a general principle, debt is bad unless

  • It’s an investment debt, examples of which are,
    • education loans in an area and, in an amount that makes economic sense
    • a mortgage,
      • a loan to purchase a house or real estate,
        • for which at least you have a real asset to sell off later,
        • it can be viewed as a form of saving at the least;
        • you may be able to build equity over time, and thereby
        • to increase your net assets position; or
    • an asset that will produce returns
      • greater than the cost of servicing the debt,
        • i.e. your earnings on the asset is greater than interest paid on it;
      • for example, a business or some form of an investment instrument
        • that produces an additional and an ongoing stream of income.

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Long Term Loans,

  • credit cards, education loans, business loans, mortgage loans etc.
  • even for ‘good investment loans’ (debt) have one trap:
    • the ‘Minimum Monthly Payments’ trap.
  • ‘Minimum Monthly Payment,’
    • is the amount you are required to pay on your outstanding balance
      • at regular periods (usually monthly, but also quarterly, yearly, etc.)
      • over the life of the loan;
      • meant to at least cover the interest on the loan.
    • But it may not cover your total monthly interest,
      • which means the amount you owe could be increasing
        • even while you are making regular payments!
  • When you take out a loan, your loan balance
    • which is your total debt on the loan,
    • continues to earn interest,
      • by the day, month, etc. depending on the loan details; it may also
    • increase when you fail to make a payment
      • because you get charged a penalty for late or non-payment,
        • which is then added to your loan balance!

 If your minimum payments do not cover the interest,

    • in each period,
    • the unpaid interest is usually added to your outstanding balance
      • (this is called ‘capitalization’ of the interest)
      • that is, it’s like you took a larger loan in the first place;
    • future interest payments may be calculated on
      • the unpaid interest plus the original balance (‘principal’);
      • which is now the new and higher ‘principal’,
      • therefore your debt is growing, even as you are making
        • regular payments towards it!
  • Example, say you hold a balance of $25,000 on a credit card/loan
    • at 15% annual interest rate computed on each month’s balance, you must pay
      • $3750 per year in interest (25,000 x 0.15) or
      • $308 – $312 per month (3750 /365 * 30 days; or $3750 /12 months) or
      • $500 per month if the minimum payment required is 2%
        • ($25,000 * 0.15)
    • If you miss one minimum payment,
      • the $500 may be added to your balance of $25,000
        • at the end of the period
        • to become $25,500.
        • Your annual interest at 15% is now
          • $3825 per year (25,500 * 0.15) or
          • $314 – $318 per month (3825 /365 * 30 days; or $3825/12 months) or
          • $510 per month if the minimum payment required is 2%
      • Additional fees (penalties) may also be added to your loan balance.
    • If on the other hand
      • you are in financial difficulty and ask for reduced payment
        • that is less than your interest payments,
          • say you want to make a $100 payment,
          • instead of the minimum payment of $500
        • you will be paying less than the interest payment
          • (of $308 – $312 per month);
        • your outstanding interest may be capitalized
          • i.e. added to the initial balance of $25,000:
          • which is $208 – $212: the difference
            • between your monthly interest
              • ($308 – $312) and
              • the $100 you paid
          • will be added to your balance;
          • other ‘late penalty’ or ‘non-payment’ fees
            • may also be added to your balance
          • other ‘finance’ or ‘financing’ charges
            • may be added to your balance and
          • the total loan balance will increase.
        • Then what looks like a relief (less than the minimum payment)
          • turns out to be bad for you in the long run

There’s more. Check back tomorrow!

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Email me at reach4himwdray@gmail.com

[Very] Basic Steps for Managing Your Money!

TOO MANY ‘days left at the end of your money’;  the next pay check?  Here are simple steps to help you manage your money!

  1. Know Your Spending Pattern!
    1. Track your every penny for 2-3 months.
    2. Write it down, use Excel.
      1. Make a list.
      2. Write down the Date, Place, Description, Amount,
        1. for every penny you spend!!!
        2. Who says good things come cheap?
  2. Plan Your Spending
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    1. Draw from ‘1’ above.
    2. Make a budget.
      1. This is a ‘plan for spending’ based on your income.
      2. Use approximate numbers (averages).
      3. Estimate regular expenses at the higher end (Be realistic!).
  3. Monitor Your Spending Pattern
    1. There are many apps that do this.
    2. Most likely your Bank can also do it for you,
      1. if you do not mind someone else tracking your finances, and
      2. if you do not mind signing up ‘for free’
        1. (nothing is truly free) or,
      3. you can make your own Excel budget.
      4. Excel has many templates for household and other types of budgets.
        1. Here is one that I use:
          1. By George Hayward – Household Budget Template
  4. Keep to Your Plan (Your Budget!)
    1. Automate Regular Expenses:
      1. tithe (10%),
      2. bills, and

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      3. savings and investments (10%).
      4. It will help your credit score.
    2. Keep Spontaneous Purchases to a minimum.
      1. They are the main source of going over budget.
      2. This includes ‘eating out’ on the spur of the moment.
  5. Make a Priority List for Spending, Mine: 
    1. tithe,
    2. bills and obligations,
    3. necessities (health, food, etc.),
    4. emergency Funds saving,
      1. (six months worth of regular monthly expenses)
    5. savings and investments, and
    6. leisure, and other discretionary spending.
  6. Don’t hold Credit Card Balances
    1. The interest rate is too high (often 10 – 25%) on balances.
    2. Even when you make minimum payments,
      1. your balance is still increasing and
      2. your outstanding it will double in almost every 4-7 years!
  7. Learn How to Invest and Grow Your Wealth – More on that later!

AND YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY!

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YOU CAN DO THIS!

LET’S DO THIS!