Consolidate Debt to Help Meet Your Financial Goals
As the holiday season recedes in the rearview mirror and Americans settle into a new year, many do so with debt on their minds, along with a desire to save more money. One 2021 survey indicated that saving more money and paying down debt were Americans’ two most-popular financial resolutions – and now is an excellent time for taking a fresh look at budgeting and reducing debt as part of a long-term financial plan.
Even as the American economy climbs back from the global pandemic’s financial impact, families are still feeling the effects of things like employment uncertainties, the 2020 downturn and inflation during the ongoing recovery. Consolidating debt – paying off several debts and replacing them with a single balance – can help you manage your budget, stabilize your finances and still put money toward savings. Start 2022 with a plan to reduce, and even eliminate, your debt.
Why Consolidate Debt?
- Combining multiple debts into one balance gives you fewer bills to pay each month.
- By finding a lower rate – whether through a loan or a credit card balance transfer – you’ll save money by putting less toward interest rates and paying down the principal balance sooner. You may even shorten your repayment term.1
- Fewer bills and a planned budget can help improve your credit score when you make your payments on time and avoid taking on more debt.
New Year, New Habits
Paying off debt begins with a solid understanding of your budget, including knowing your monthly income and spending habits. Use Key’s budget worksheet to gather your information, review your financial habits and patterns, and equip yourself to make decisions based on your needs, wants and savings goals.
Seeing your income and spending organized in a budgeting document often makes it easier to recognize opportunities for reducing bills, removing discretionary items and finding additional streams of income. The more information you have available, the better decisions you can make regarding paying off debt and building savings.
Options for Consolidating Debt
You have several options to explore when it comes to debt consolidation. Let’s start with a look at personal loans and balance transfer credit cards:
- Unsecured personal loans – Using a solution such as a KeyBank personal loan to consolidate your debt won’t require collateral, or fees for originating the loan or paying it off early. These loans start at $5,000 and offer flexible terms up to 84 months,2 locking in a fixed rate with a set monthly payment. It helps you maintain a budget and frees up cash flow to pay other debt or build savings – and funds can be available the same day you apply at any branch.3
- Balance transfer credit cards – Research credit cards that offer 0% introductory APR, and investigate transferring your existing debt onto them. The KeyBank Latitude® Credit Card, for example, charges 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles on balances from other debts transferred onto this card within the first 60 days. After that, your APR will be 19.49% to 26.49% based on your creditworthiness. This option gives you an opportunity to pay that debt down more effectively.
Owning a home also gives you access to other debt consolidation tools, all of which can make your budgeting easier and lower your interest rates, helping you pay off debt and save for the future.
- Mortgage refinancing – By leveraging the equity in your home for a cash-out refinance, you can get money to help pay off existing high-interest debt. You could also explore a rate/term refinance with the goal of lowering your monthly mortgage payments and using the savings to pay off other debts. Talk to a KeyBank dedicated mortgage loan officer to learn about our mortgage refinancing options, rates and more.
- Home equity line of credit – This solution creates a continuous line of accessible credit based on the available equity in your home. It functions similar to a credit card, but with your house used as collateral. It provides ongoing flexibility, although, it should be noted that your balance and payments month to month may vary.
- Home equity loan – While this option also taps into your home equity, it takes the form of a one-time loan distribution. Because it offers a fixed rate and a variety of repayment term options, budgeting is easy through uniform, planned payments, with no worries about rising interest rates.
Bring Your Financial Goals in Reach
If you consolidate some debt but have multiple monthly debt payments remaining, then you can still effectively and methodically pay down debt. Many different strategies and products are available – and we can help you on your journey toward paying off your debt and reaching your savings goals.
Learn more about the debt consolidation options at Key or get in touch with us for a Key Financial Wellness Review. Start the new year with strong steps in the right financial direction.