I have a question. I am 24 and I just started selling commercial insurance. My wife and I have about 70 k in student loans which we plan on paying back asap. I am going to have an additional 10k on top of my salary next year which I plan on saving until the end of the year and allocating it as I see fit. Everything I read says “compounding interest is the bomb” but then says “don’t save, pay down debt”. Now, I hate debt but I want to take full advantage of our young age and compounding interest. What would you recommend I do with extra 10k if we already put and extra $200 towards debt a month and we have an emegency fund in place? Fully Fund our IRA’s for the year or pay down a loan? I feel like there is no right or wrong answer. Your thoughts?
Harris, I think it depends on several factors. First, I recommend having a well established emergency fund that will be enough to cover several months living expenses. This will help you cover any unexpected expenses and avoid taking out additional debt. Next consider other short/medium term goals. For example, are you saving to buy a house, do you need to replace your car in the next two or three years, etc. Finally, consider the interest rates of your student loans and what you may be able to earn in an IRA and decide which option is best for your needs. Investing for retirement now could be a huge benefit for you and your wife when you reach retirement age, but eliminating debt increases cash flow and gives you peace of mind. Both options are solid. Best of luck.
Before you start regularly saving and investing money, it's usually a good idea to pay down any debts you may have accumulated. Credit card debt, student debt, and even car loans can carry heavy interest rates that drag you down, demanding monthly installments that chip away at your revenue while racking up additional interest and penalties that take away even more money from your future self. Don't let this eat away at your potential; make it a first-line priority to get rid of your debt as soon as possible.
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