What’s Smarter — Paying Off Debts or Investing?
If you’re just starting out in your career, you will need to be prepared to face some financial challenges along the way – but here’s one that’s not unpleasant: choosing what to do with some extra disposable income. When this happens, what should you do with the money? Your decisions could make a real difference in your ability to achieve your important financial goals.
Under what circumstances might you receive some “found” money? You could get a year-end bonus from your employer, or a sizable tax refund, or even an inheritance. However the money comes to you, don’t let it “slip through your fingers.” Instead, consider these two moves: investing the money or using it to pay off debts.
Which of these choices should you pick? There’s no one “right” answer, as everyone’s situation is different. But here are a few general considerations:
Distinguish between “good” and “bad” debt. Not all types of debt are created equal. Your mortgage, for example, is probably a “good” form of debt. You’re using the loan for a valid purpose – i.e., living in your house – and you likely get a hefty tax deduction for the interest you pay. On the other hand, nondeductible consumer debt that carries a high interest rate might be considered “bad” debt – and this is the debt you might want to reduce or eliminate when you receive some extra money. By doing so, you can free up
money to save and invest for retirement or other goals.
Compare making extra mortgage payments vs. investing…
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