Showing posts with label debt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label debt. Show all posts

Sunday, February 21, 2010

dropping the weight of consumer debt

I've held a dirty little secret for the past 4 years and I am going to come forward with it now.

Consumer debt is probably one of the worst items that can appear on the balance sheet of someone trying to grow their net worth and achieve financial freedom. Money that was borrowed to purchase a car, vacation, furniture, or some other asset other than an investment or a home; and the interest associated with it will drag you down hard. The problem is that when it comes to vehicles, it is almost unavoidable to take on consumer debt unless one pays cash upfront which is not really wise considering the time-value of money. If you can find a very low financing rate I would argue that you are better off going that route instead of paying cash because of what you could do with that money investment-wise in the meantime.

In early 2006 we purchased a vehicle and financed it over 60 months. This has been a drag on our net worth and monthly cash flow ever since. The problem with vehicles is that they are essentially money pits and whether you buy them with cash, finance or lease them you can't really win. We've made the decision to now use some extra funds to pay off the vehicle before it is due in order to save the monthly payment's impact on our cash flow while my wife enters maternity leave next month. This move will not save us any interest, but it will allow some more flexibility within our budget and create a spike straight to our net worth as that debt line will vanish into thin air.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

a new use for dividends

Wow, the markets have been flying lately. The S&P 500 index is up 13% over the past 3 months. XDV (and ETF that tracks Canadian dividend paying stocks) is up 21% over the same period.

All this jubilation has caused me to begin to perform a behaviour that is out of character for me. It feels different from my normal long term, more savings = more investment = more dividends = more investment strategy but lately I've been letting the dividend tap run into my line of credit. That's right, I've been taking the money from dividends and interest that builds up in our investment account and using it to chip away at our investment line of credit.

Maybe it is the fact that stocks seem to go up everyday and therefore they get less attractive to me, or maybe it is because I like what it does to our net worth statement, but I'm going with my gut on this one for the time being. It's boring, it's conservative, but it feels good to reduce debt a little bit at a time.