7 powerful ways to use debt to build wealth

In recent years the word ‘debt’ has developed something of a bad name, but the truth is that not all debt is bad – in fact, some types of debt can do you a power of good.

Going further than that, ‘good debt’ is one of the best ways to start leveraging the power of your money and creating passive income streams that help you develop real wealth. Without debt, very few people would own a house or be able to use their high earnings to start building their ‘empire.’

Here we take a look at the steps you can take so that your debt serves you well rather than endangering your financial future.

The Differences between Good Debt and Bad Debt

It’s important to understand what we mean by ‘good’ debt and ‘bad’ debt.

Good Debt is the type that allows you to accumulate assets that will increase in value; the loan interest is often tax deductible, and you can use the income derived from the asset to repay the debt.

Examples include:

  • Property
  • Shares
  • Investing in managed funds

Bad Debt is the type that buys goods, services or assets that have no potential to generate any income and/or depreciate in value. The loan interest is non-tax deductible, and there is no income from the asset to pay back the debt.

Examples include:

  • Credit card debt – if not repaid within the interest-free period
  • Personal loans to buy cars
  • Most family home loans

Using the Power of Good Debt

You can take several steps to get your personal finances in a position to start using good debt to create wealth. Here are seven of the best:

1.     Debt Consolidation

Servicing multiple debts is costing you way more than you need to pay in interest and fees. It can often benefit you, for example, to increase your mortgage and use the extra funds to pay off other, inefficient bad debt like credit card balances and personal loans. Your home loan repayments may stay the same, but you will use its lower interest rate to pay off higher interest debt.

2.     Making your  Savings Work Harder

Many people like to keep money in a cash savings bank account as ‘emergency’ funds or a ‘buffer’, making them feel more secure. The fact is that this money could be more wisely kept in an ‘offset’ account linked to your mortgage. You will earn a higher after-tax return and reduce the term of your home loan, all without locking up the funds.

3.     Better Cash-flow Management

Managing cash flow is key to minimising bad debt. The main idea is to reduce interest payments – this can be done by increasing the frequency of payment on a mortgage, increasing the amount paid, paying your entire salary into an offset account or using an interest-free period on a credit card to pay for daily expenses (freeing up other funds for paying off your home loan) without paying any interest.

Passive income

4.     Borrowing to Create Wealth

Once you’ve minimised the bad debt, it’s time to start creating some good debt. This is called “gearing.” Providing you invest wisely and your assets increase in value, gearing helps you create wealth, as the income (and capital growth) from the investment pays off the debt and exceeds the costs of servicing that debt. Property or shares are often a good strategy here. You can create the extra funds by borrowing against the equity in your home, taking out a margin loan, or investing in a managed share fund.

5.     Using Lump Sums Wisely

Occasionally you may receive a large lump sum of money from bonuses, inheritance etc. Try to use this to pay off bad debt or perhaps consider making extra contributions into superannuation.

6.     Debt Recycling

Debt recycling is where, as you pay off your home loan, you redraw the equity you have built up to invest in shares or other property; again, the bad debt becomes a good debt that can earn you an income and can be used to pay back the loan, as well as providing tax breaks. Any excess income can also be fed back into your home loan to pay that off quickly and make further interest savings.

7.     Invest in a Geared Managed Share Fund

A managed share fund is ‘internally geared’ so that you don’t have to take out an investment loan yourself, yet you can still benefit from the ‘gearing’ effect of borrowing to invest. Here the fund manager borrows (at wholesale rates) on behalf of investors to invest in international or local share markets.

With all of the above steps, it’s important to get quality advice and to understand the risks and the potential returns.

If you would like to know more about how Delta Financial Group can help you implement this strategy, please contact Mike on 0438 334 334 or Mike@deltafinancial.com.au for more information.

Mike Sikar

Founder & Principal Advisor

I’ve been a leader and innovator of the financial services industry for almost two decades, as a stockbroker from 1997 – 2007 and as a financial advisor from 2008.

Managing money comes down to basic psychology-understand how it works, know what you want it for and consistently apply the key principles to get the most out of it.

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~Benjamin Graham

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