More and more Americans are struggling due to debt and many don’t even have enough savings to cover a $400-$500 emergency. Lisa Servon a Professor of city planning at the University of Pennsylvania spoke to NPR about the “unbanking of America,” and how Americans have been turning their backs on banks and looking to non-traditional institutions to help them with loans for emergency funds. Banks just don’t meet their needs, she says, and whack them with fees and charges they aren’t expecting.
As a result, people are increasingly relying on check-cashing centers and payday lenders for emergencies. LoanMart shares that borrowers can receive loans within 24-hours to help cover things such as medical emergencies, veterinary costs, funeral expenses, sudden home repairs, legal fees, and many others. Now, thanks to technology and mobile apps it’s easier than ever to obtain these loans, but more importantly, to help you manage your finances to get out of debt and be able to build an emergency fund.
In our article on ‘3 Ways Apps Can Help Improve Your Finances’ we described how financial apps can help with your budget, increase your savings and help you invest better. Today we are going to pick up from that piece and talk about an aspect of finance most people have difficulty with: managing debt and loans. Let’s look at three ways apps can help you manage and repay your debts.
Establish Debt Repayment Strategies
Apps like Debt Payoff Planner & Tracker can help you figure out the best way to get your loans, or any other kind of debt paid off. US News explains how the app provides the user with three options: the snowball method for debt payments, where a borrower tackles the debt with the lowest balance first, regardless of the interest rates; debt avalanche, which helps you pay off the loan with the highest interest first; and a custom plan, which allows you to customize your debt repayment strategy and keep track of your loans with the help of a debt calculator. For most people, going for the avalanche option will help them save on interest payments and tackle a bigger chunk of the principal.
Keep Track of Debt
Effectively managing and tracking your debts through an app gives you a visual representation of all your debts in one place, making it easier for you to track and pay off. Debt Manager is a handy app for the aforementioned avalanche and snowball methods of debt repayment. The app tracks all your debts and loans, so once you’ve successfully repaid a loan the app will take those payments and apply them to the next loan on your list. Forbe’s guide to debt management apps shows how the app allows you to track your loans and credit with customizable, easy to view bars and charts that can be exported to PDF.
Get Out of Debt More Efficiently
Depending on your financial health and expertise you may need the support of a financial planner to get you out of debt. With LearnVest you can take advantage of their effective financial planning program. The only downside is that there’s a monthly fee of $19, however, the cost is well worth it. The app allows you to take advantage of the best repayment plan based on your personal situation and goals, by meeting with one of their skilled CFPs. This way, they will help you set a target for reaching your debt-free goal based on your needs. Most importantly, by having another person help you keep track of your progress it will make you accountable and keep you on track to reach your goals.