How much do you owe? Overview
A lot of people are seduced by the purchase power offered by credit cards, easy-to-get personal loans, and low down payment mortgages. However, as a person accumulates these debts they usually don't think about how they are going to pay them off. This oversight leads many people into a desperate situation where their monthly payments for these debts take up all of their monthly income.
If you are in this situation now, or if you are heading for one like it, then it is time to take control of your finances. You can start by using our "How Much Do You Owe?" tool to see just how far in debt you actually are.
Being in debt isn't just a matter of raw dollars. It's a question of how long it will take you to pay it off and how much of a burden it will be on your finances while you do so. Because many types of debt, particularly credit cards, charge very high interest rates – often in the high teens – paying a bit extra on those debts each month can provide big rewards in brining down your debt more quickly, and reducing your total interest costs as well. This calculator can help you explore how to most effectively use your dollars to bring your debt down as quickly as possible.
What this calculator can help you do
- Tally up your total debts
- Determine how long it will take to pay off all your debts
- See how long it will take to pay off a certain type of debts, like credit cards
- Assess if your debt load is manageable before taking on new debt
- Determine how much you'll pay in interest over the course of paying down your debts
- Help you explore strategies for reducing interest costs by paying down certain debts more quickly
Using the "How Much Do I Owe?" calculator
The calculator makes separate determinations for three types of debt:
- Credit cards
- Auto loans
- Other loans and installment debt
For Credit Card debt:
- Enter information for up to 10 credit cards
- Checking the "minimum payments" box will automatically assume a monthly payment of 4% of the balance for each card.
- You can use the minimum payment on each card as a starting point to see what effect increasing the monthly payment would have on paying off the card more quickly.
For Auto Loans:
- Enter information for up to three vehicle loans
- Enter the balance currently owed, not the original loan amount
- Enter your minimum monthly payments plus any additional amount you wish to pay
- The calculator will determine the number of payments it will take to pay off each, based on your monthly payments.
For Other loans and installment debt:
- Enter information for mortgages, home equity loans, personal loans and other installment payments here
- Again, enter your current balance for each loan
- Enter the amount you must pay or wish to pay each month
- The calculator will figure how many payments it will take to pay off each loan at that rate.
After entering all your information, your total debt will be displayed at the top of the page. The graph below the calculator will show the time it will take to pay off all your debts.
For a more detailed breakdown of your debts and repayment schedule, including month-by-month payments over time, click "View report."
Would refinancing to a lower mortgage rate help you get out of debt faster? Or maybe you'd like to pay off high-interest rate debt with a low-rate home equity loan? Click "Get Free Quote" to obtain a personalized rate quote tailored to your financial profile.