How to Assess Your Debts
Once you #FaceTheNumbers, get organized to manage your debts so that you can figure out the best payoff plan for you.
January 3, 2022
Facing the numbers may be the toughest hurdle that you need to clear in your financial wellness journey. So take a breath and take time to take it in. Just remember: This isn’t forever, just where you stand today.
List out all of your debts
Once you’ve come to terms with the number, it’s time to manage your debt and get organized. Your first step? Organize bills and statements. On a piece of paper or digital spreadsheet, list out all of your debts. This includes every credit card with a balance as well as any student loans, car notes, “buy now, pay later” purchases and your mortgage (if you have one).
If you like using worksheets to help you get organized, we’ve put together something you can print out or replicate on a spreadsheet.
Spell out the terms
Next to each debt, write down what is owed, the interest rate and current status of the loan. On the latter, specifically, have you missed any payments. If yes, how many months late are you?
For credit card debts, you can find this information on your cardmember agreement and monthly statement. Your interest rate will be in the form of an annual percentage rate (APR). Yes, there’s a difference.
Put simply, the interest rate is the cost you pay to borrow money. Meanwhile, an APR takes the full cost of lending into consideration, which can vary depending on the credit card company, limited-time promotions or type of loan you take out. You can read more about the difference here.
For your fixed-rate loans (loans that have set payments, a set payback period and set interest rate), you should also note the monthly payment and remaining months till the loan is paid in full. This isn’t applicable for credit card debts since they have a variable interest rate and payments depend on how much you spent the previous month.
For “buy now, pay now” purchases, take note of the remaining amount owed, the monthly payment. If there are any interest charges or fees associated with the service, put them in the “interest” column. Under “status” take note of whether you’re within or past the free payback period.
Rank your debts by different variables
To figure out how to manage your debt, sort them by your balance, interest rates, and terms. For example:
Which debts have the highest interest rate?
Which debts have the highest balance?
Do your debts with the highest interest rate also have the highest balance, or is it different?
Which debts have the highest fixed monthly payments?
Which debts have the longest and shortest terms?
Take note of these insights for now. They’ll come into play in the coming days as you figure out the best payoff plan for you.
Get started with our worksheet
Click here to download the PDF to help you organize bills and manage your debts.
How to join our 31-day #FaceTheNumbers challenge
We’ll be posting each day’s activity on Instagram, Facebook, and at our Face The Numbers page. Follow along to learn how you can #TallyItUp and make 2022 the year you get out of credit card debt for good.
We hope you’ll join us and start the new year with the Tally crew!