Auto loan debt is sometimes seen as “good debt,” given that an auto loan comes with fixed payments and ends with the full ownership of a car. However, keep in mind that any debt is not ideal; avoid getting swept away by the promise of a beautiful car. If consumers do their homework and pick the right car, paying off a car loan shouldn’t come with high stress. Either way, discipline in money management is crucial.
Tips for Handling Auto Loan Debt
Defaulting on an auto loan payment, more often than not, leads to the repossession of the car. Auto loan debt payments should not be a huge burden on a person’s finances. If you find yourself overwhelmed, you may want to consider getting a cheaper car.
So what can you do to handle the auto loan debt the right way?
- Manage a budget – Place the auto loan in your budget and see how it will change it. Will you need to cut back in any other areas to pay off the loan? Be cautious when picking a car, as the auto loan should not be more than you can afford.
- Know how the loan works – Auto loans are secured, fixed debts, meaning they require collateral, the car, and the monthly payments are set amounts. The more you contribute to the down payment, the lower their debt will be.
- Consider refinancing – If you get a loan through the car dealership, chances are the rates aren’t great. Car dealerships often make a decent amount of money off of their financing schemes. Shop around for a better loan at banks or credit unions and see which offer the best refinancing rate.
- Automatic payments – Setting up automatic payments each month should make it easier to handle the auto loan payments and ensure they are all paid on time.
- Consolidating debt – Many consumers have other debts on top of their auto loans, such as credit cards and mortgages. Debt consolidation allows you to take out one loan to pay off all their smaller individual loans. This can help save money on interest rates as well as the number of bills consumers need to focus on.
- Car loan default – If you are close to defaulting on the loan, call the creditors and renegotiate the loan. Explain the situation and why you may default and decide on an alternative payment plan.
If you struggle to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Call one of our certified credit counselors today at 800-769-3571.