The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends you keep your debt-to-income ratio below 43%. Statistically speaking, people with debts exceeding 43 percent often have trouble making their monthly payments. The highest ratio you can have and still be able to obtain a qualified mortgage is also 43 percent.
Right now, a good mortgage rate for a 15-year fixed loan might be in the high-3% or low-4% range, while a good rate for a 30-year mortgage is generally in the high-4% or low-5% range.
From 2017 through 2020, the average ranged from as low as 4.42% to 5.5%. If your interest is around those averages or lower, then it's probably a good rate.
Fed decision July 2022: Fed hikes interest rates by 0.75 percentage point.
How much money does the average American owe? According to a 2020 Experian study, the average American carries $92,727 in consumer debt. Consumer debt includes a variety of personal credit accounts, such as credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, and student loans.
Even though household net worth is on the rise in America (at $141 trillion in the summer of 2021)—so is debt. The total personal debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high of $14.96 trillion. The average American debt (per U.S. adult) is $58,604 and 77% of American households have at least some type of debt.
The 28/36 Rule. A good rule-of-thumb to calculate a reasonable debt load is the 28/36 rule. According to this rule, households should spend no more than 28% of their gross income on home-related expenses. This includes mortgage payments, homeowners insurance, property taxes, and condo/POA fees.
It's not at all uncommon for households to be swimming in more that twice as much credit card debt. But just because a $15,000 balance isn't rare doesn't mean it's a good thing. Credit card debt is seriously expensive. Most credit cards charge between 15% and 29% interest, so paying down that debt should be a priority.
The average person should be debt free by the age of 58, unless you choose to extend your payments. Otherwise, you could potentially be making payments for another two decades before you become debt free. Now, if you were to use a more disciplined budget and well-planned payments, you could be done by age 39.
It's typically smarter to pay down your mortgage as much as possible at the very beginning of the loan to save yourself from paying more interest later. If you're somewhere near the later years of your mortgage, it may be more valuable to put your money into retirement accounts or other investments.
So how much non-mortgage debt do Americans have? According to Northwestern Mutual's 2021 Planning & Progress Study, U.S. adults aged 18 and over who carry debt hold an average of $23,325 outside of their mortgages.
The average American have 4 credit cards, according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review.
“Shark Tank” investor Kevin O'Leary has said the ideal age to be debt-free is 45, especially if you want to retire by age 60. Being debt-free — including paying off your mortgage — by your mid-40s puts you on the early path toward success, O'Leary argued.
And yet, over half of Americans surveyed (53%) say that debt reduction is a top priority—while nearly a quarter (23%) say they have no debt.
Using one of these options to pay off your mortgage can give you a false sense of financial security. Unexpected expenses—such as medical costs, needed home repairs, or emergency travel—can destroy your financial standing if you don't have a cash reserve at the ready.
What is the most significant downside of paying off your mortgage early? The biggest drawback of paying off your mortgage is reducing your liquidity. It is far easier to get money out of an investment or bank account than it is to get money from the equity you've built in your home.
You may have heard carrying a balance is beneficial to your credit score, so wouldn't it be better to pay off your debt slowly? The answer in almost all cases is no. Paying off credit card debt as quickly as possible will save you money in interest but also help keep your credit in good shape.
Option 1: Pay off the highest-interest debt first
Best for: Minimizing the amount of interest you pay. There's a good reason to pay off your highest interest debt first — it's the debt that's charging you the most interest.
It's generally recommended that you have two to three credit card accounts at a time, in addition to other types of credit. Remember that your total available credit and your debt to credit ratio can impact your credit scores. If you have more than three credit cards, it may be hard to keep track of monthly payments.