Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Right Answer for Debt Management

First, let me assure you that there is no one-size-fits-all answer for debt management. There is, however, a specific debt management answer for each individual and each family.
Successful debt management is built upon two factors that we all have in common; income and out-go. The bottom line on a paycheck is income and so is any interest payments made to you or any other form of income that you receive.
The deductions from paychecks aren't going to be included when an individual or family makes a debt management plan. The out-go includes every penny that is spent, including the latte that is bought en route to the job and the cold drink that is added to the purchase when the car is refueled.
These kinds of expenditures are not debts, but they are part of the total out-go, and must be considered when making a debt management plan.
When the total of the expenditures made each month is subtracted from the total income that is received each month, the disposable income figure is arrived at. If the answer is zero or less than zero, you cannot afford to take on any additional debt.
If there is a positive number, then this is where you get to make your own decisions about how that money will be spent. Cutting overall expenditures will increase this number, and adding to overall expenditures will decrease this number.
If you find that you do have disposable income, then you and your family will need to make decisions based upon your lifestyle and your interests. Maybe a family vacation is what would make all of you happy, or maybe buying a boat would do the trick. You might not be able to afford both and you will need to choose the things that will make you and yours happy.