I’ve frequently argued that passive income is the best income. I’ve attempted to build it up extensively over the past couple of years. One of the best methods for building up passive income, in my opinion, is through dividend-paying stocks. However, when building up passive income, paying debt aggressively can take a back seat.
I had some debts that built up from graduate school, and I’ve made quite a bit of progress over the past four years or so. Most of these debts arose from basic living expenses. I really hate this debt, even though many people argue that it’s “good” debt. There is no doubt that these debts allowed me to increase my earnings capability, and my income has gone up.
However, I still don’t like these debts. I’ve consolidated the debts into 0% interest credit cards, finally getting down to one. Until the last month, I’ve been paying slightly more than the minimum each month after having the debt drop to about $8,600. This is not a huge debt when compared to the debt that other people have, but it’s still an annoyance.
Investments Can Pay More, But…
One of the reasons I was paying so little each month was the fact that investments generally pay more than 0% in dividends. Therefore, I thought that paying debt down aggressively would keep me from increasing my passive income. I was right. However, watching this debt go down by a whopping $100 a month did not seem like much progress to me.
Additionally, there’s a 3% to 5% balance transfer charge every time that I make a transfer (about once a year). This is effectively a once yearly interest payment that would add between $30 and $50 per $1,000 to the balance each and every year.
At this rate, I figured that I’d have the debt paid off in somewhere between 8 and 10 years, and the balance transfer fee would actually add back 2 or 3 months of payments that I’d already made in the earlier years of the process. I really hate having this debt, even though I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made thus far.
Paying Debt Is A Priority
I believe that cash flow is even better than cash, and debt takes part of my cash flow every month without giving me anything in return. Because there is some opportunity cost in paying debt, I’ve decided to take a hybrid approach. Whereas I was putting more money toward investments each month, now I’m splitting up some of my side hustle income into both the investing bucket and the paying debt bucket.
I figure that if I can put an additional $50, $100, or $200 a month into paying off my debt, I’ll pay it off in less than one-half the time that it would take by paying a minimal amount. Then, my cash flow will increase by the amount that I was putting toward paying it off. This is exciting.
If you’d like more advice on how to accelerate debt payments, I’d refer you to Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. You can purchase this great resource by clicking the image of the book below.
So Is Investing
I still want to build up my investments, however. Therefore, I’m splitting up the side hustle income that does not go toward bills between paying debt and investing for the future. This allows me to build passive income while also cutting the interest that I’ll pay. Additionally, I’ll improve my cash flow more quickly.
I can invest my side hustle income and get dividend income that will probably yield between 2 and 5 percent. I can also pay down my debt and get a “dividend” of between 3 and 5 percent. The dividend that I get from paying down the debt is the interest that I will not have to pay.
While this strategy is not going to maximize my success in either the area of passive income or debt repayment, it will hopefully allow me to make some solid progress in both areas. I’m happy to live with this compromise.
In the first month of this strategy, I was able to double up the credit card payment that I’d made for the past few months. My debt dropped from $8,600 to $8,400 in the first month as a result. I made a few smaller payments rather than one big payment to see the progress come more quickly. I hope to keep this up in the months to come so that I can aggressively cut down the debt.
The closer I get to paying the debt completely off, I’ll be more likely to become more aggressive in paying it off as opposed to saving. I realize that paying debt is a good investment for the future. However, I still want to see some passive income and take advantage of the power of compounding.
What strategies have you used for paying down debt?
Other Posts That Might Help
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