As we begin a new year, we long to finally make this the year we make a lasting difference in our lives. While 2012 witnessed us throw our resolutions out the window by mid-January, 2013 brings new hope that we will all lose 50 pounds, become independently wealthy, quit our vices, and obtain sainthood all in the span of 365 days.
Improving our financial lives come second only to losing weight when we sit down to make that hopeful list of what we will accomplish in the New Year. These financial goals could include saving more for retirement, making more money, or saving up for the purchase of an appreciating asset. But for a lot of us it means paying off debt.
It is an understood fact in the personal finance realm that debt is bad. It makes you a slave to the lender, it causes great anxiety, and it means that your money isn’t really yours. In most cases, debt is the consequence of not delaying gratification. So now we are crushed by the double whammy crappy feeling of both owing money and realizing that our childlike demands of NOW! NOW! NOW! put us in that position. It sucks and we all want to see that debt balance at zero. Are you ready for zero? I know I am and I even wrote a post detailing what it would mean to be DEBT FREE!
Lucky for us, there is an awesome program that allows us to pay off our debt in the most time-efficient, cost-effective manner. It is cleverly named ReadyForZero and it pretty much rocks. ReadyForZero allows you to link all of your debt information in one place – balances, interest rates, and minimum payments – and then tells you how to pay it as quickly and cheaply as possible. It’s the bomb-dot-com and you need to sign up now. Here’s why…
ReadyForZero is free online software that allows you to track your debt and pay it off in a cost-effective manner. It links all your debts, the minimum payments, and interest rates in one place – letting you get an all-in-one snapshot of your debts. Basically, it creates that list of debts that every financial guru and PF blogger tells you to make.
After linking your debts, you create a Payment Plan, where you choose either the monthly payment you can afford or the date you want to be debt free. If you choose a minimum payment, ReadyForZero will give you your debt free date, and vice versa. The program will also tell you the amount of interest you will pay, along with the interest and time you will have saved by paying more than the minimums.
The reason ReadyForZero will help you become DEBT FREE the fastest is because it helps you implement the Debt Avalanche method. While I detailed a variety of strategies for optimal debt reduction, the Debt Avalanche method is mathematically the fastest way to pay down debt.
With that in mind, ReadyForZero adopts the highest interest rate method of debt repayment (the Avalanche Method) by giving you a “Target Account”. This target account is your debt with the highest interest rate, and the only account where you will be making more than the minimum payment (until it’s paid off and you move onto the next one!). It’s Dave Ramsey meets Suze Orman (just don’t tell them that).
The great thing about ReadyForZero is that it’s completely free and you can use the features mentioned above for no cost at all. However, they do give you the option to upgrade to ReadyForZero PLUS in order to setup online bill pay through RFZ. Again, I’ll note: You can still use the normal ReadyForZero tools and just pay through your account sites for free, without having to opt for the “Plus” option. However, for $4.99 per month it may be a great option for those of you that want to have one place where you set up all of your monthly debt payments.
The most interesting feature that intrigued me about ReadyforZero Plus is that it allows you to pay your debt payments on a bi-monthly basis. I’ll probably do a write-up on this when I have time, but by paying your debt payments twice each month, you actually make an extra payment each year! Therefore you’ll get out of debt that much quicker! When looking at the RFZ Plus sign-up page, they’ll show you the calculation on how much more quickly you’ll become debt free AND how much interest you’ll save by adopting this bi-monthly payment method.
Click on the ReadyForZero image below (which will take you directly to their site), enter in your basic information and link all of your debt accounts using your account log in information for your various credit cards and loans. ReadyForZero will then prompt you to set up your Payment Plan. Pick your target debt free date OR the amount you can pay monthly and let RFZ do the rest!
After chatting with Shannon at ReadyForZero, she did assure me that ALL of your passwords are eliminated once you enter them into their system (so you don’t ever have to worry about somebody getting your hands on them). Furthermore, they are PCI compliant and use bank level security for their site. It’s just another step they’ve taken to keep your information secure and put you at ease when using their tool.
The articles are written by personal finance enthusiasts (not certified professionals) based on their personal experience. What works for them may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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