Thinking Of To Pay Off Your Loans Early? Follow These Tips

Becoming debt free is always a commendable feat. But is paying off your loans early truly always the best financial decision? Consider the following dos and don’ts before you pay down your debt.

ValueChampion Editorial Team

by ValueChampion Editorial Team on Jun 13, 2024

liquidity loan repayment

Having debt from loans can be stressful, so it’s understandable if you want to pay it off as soon as you can. However, before you pay off any outstanding debt, keep in mind that you may be charged to pay it off and, in some cases, the money might be better spent on an investment. To help you decide whether now is the right time to pay off existing debt, check out our top things to consider when paying off your loan.

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Do: Know How Much The Early Repayment Fee Will Cost You

Depending on which loan you have taken out, you will have to pay a fee to repay the entire loan. Most loans, whether it is a personal loan, car loan, home loan, or others, will charge a fee to repay the money in full.

This can cost you an additional S$100 to S$1,000, or 1-3%, just in fees. If you have only a few months left, then repaying your entire loan might adversely affect your finances. In that case, it might be better to partially repay the loan and reduce your monthly instalments.

Related: Home Loan Terms To Understand Before Taking Up A Mortgage

Do: Consider Investing the Money Instead of Repaying the Loan

In some cases, like for home loans, allocating a portion of the money you would use to pay off the loan can be better spent on investments. For instance, if you decide to invest with an online brokerage that offers low fees, you could earn anywhere from 5-10% in annual returns.

stock investing on laptop and phone
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If you are more risk-averse, you could consider investing in state-backed bonds or bills. These are government-backed and offer reasonable returns. For instance, Singapore Savings Bonds have an annual average return of 3.3% for 10 years in June 2024. As for government treasury bills, which last 6 months to a year, you can expect to see annual returns of 3.57%-3.71%. Depending on your interest rates, investing could earn you more than what you spend on your monthly payments.

Related: Interest Rates and Returns for Singapore Savings Bonds (SSB)

Comparison of SSBs, SGS Bonds, and T-Bills

Singapore Savings BondsT-Bills
Minimum Investment AmountS$500S$1,000
Maximum Investment AmountS$200,000None
Frequency of Interest Paid6 monthsAt Maturity
Early RedemptionYesNo

Related: What Are Singapore Treasury Bills and Are They a Good Investment?

Do: Consider Refinancing Your Home at a Lower Rate

If the current interest rates are significantly lower than your loan interest rates, it could be a good idea to refinance your loan. For instance, you take out a debt consolidation loan (DCL), which aggregates your existing debt into one larger loan. If your DCL, which has an average EIR of 6.50%-10.50% p.a., has a lower interest rate than your previous loan, you could save hundreds on interest. As an added bonus, paying off this debt will help raise your credit score.

Related: What’s a Debt Consolidation Plan and Who Needs It?

personal loan debt
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If you have a mortgage, refinancing your loan could lower your interest rates and monthly payments. However, consider the breakeven point before doing this. This is essentially the upfront costs of refinancing your home loan, divided by the monthly savings you would make. For example, if you have to pay S$2,000 to refinance, but you would save S$200 a month, it would take 10 months before you start saving money on your repayments.

Related: A Basic Guide to Refinancing Your Mortgage Loan

Paying off Your Loan Can Be a Relief, but Only if It Won’t Cost You Extra

If you have an upcoming large expense like going to college or buying a house, then it may be better to hold off on paying down your loan. It could be in your interest to hold onto your excess cash to tide you through the new big expenses so that you don’t have to take on more debt.

However, if paying off your loan makes financial sense, it can relieve stress and give you financial freedom and security to pursue other ventures. As long as you’re aware of the early repayment fees, whether the money is better spent on investment, and the interest rates available for an alternative loan, you can make a well-informed decision.

Learn more about the different home loans on the market that you can refinance your mortgage with.

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