Day 1 of 21 Days of Financial Literacy:

This weeks’ featured topic will be Debt.

The first free Web resource that I’d like to feature is

DebtGoal is an online debt calculator system that helps you to beat your debt. It calculates payoff times and a goal and “debt repayment budget” from the debt information you provide. I initially set up my account to include my mortgage, but took it out because I found the information discouraging. Leaving just my revolving debt accounts in there is a much better way for me to go.

DebtGoal’s calculator solution is to pay from the highest interest rate debt first, while paying minimums only on the rest. I personally adhere to the “snowball method” of paying the smallest balance first, closing the account and then moving on to the others.

I’m an alpha-tester with DebtGoal and have requested that the allow users to choose “high interest first” or “snowball method” perhaps even with a calculator for the difference between the methods.

There’s pros and cons to this system. First, it is not (presently) an aggregator, though they are working on adding this functionality. What this means is that each time you get a statement in the mail, or write a check, you have to manually log in and type the info.

One feature that I really like, and haven’t seen other places, is that it shows new spending separately, by basically showing you that you have to pay A: your regular debt-busting budget amount and B: your new spending to keep up on your goal.

It’s very graphical and visual. I was surprised to learn that my debts (they are mostly remaining travel debts from my adoption trip last year) would take 91 years to pay off if I paid only minimum balances. I’ve basically thrown at them everything I can each time a bill is due, but I can take a look at DebtGoal’s suggested payments and plan ahead to make payments to each respective account.

I’ll attach a screenshot here, but for my pride’s sake, I’ve removed my account balances. Rest assured, this will be paid off by year’s end. I’m on track!

If you have debt and you’d like a nice graphical way to tackle that, I’d encourage you to give a try!