Smart Money Podcast: New Money Resolutions, and Strategizing Debt Payoff

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Written by Sean Pyles
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Co-written by Liz Weston, CFP®
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Welcome to NerdWallet’s Smart Money podcast, where we answer your real-world money questions.

This week’s episode starts with a conversation about how to craft and achieve your money resolutions in the new year.

Then we pivot to this week’s money question from a listener’s text message:

“I'm carrying less than $5,000 in credit card debt, around $25,000 in student loans, and I just bought a condo. I'd like to buy a house in a few years and keep the condo as a rental property. Am I better off to use ‘extra cash’ to pay off debt, pay extra on the mortgage, or build a pile of cash for the next down payment? Thanks!”

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Before you build a budget
NerdWallet breaks down your spending and shows you ways to save.

Our take

To know what you want to accomplish with your money in the new year, start by visualizing your life a year from now. Do you see yourself with a new house, a new job — or maybe both? Once you have a clear idea of where you want to be, you can begin making a plan to get there. The SMART method of goal-setting can help. Make money goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. As you make progress on your goals, be sure to reward yourself along the way.

If you're trying to pay off debts while balancing other financial priorities, start by analyzing your debt load and different approaches to pay it off. If you're dealing with high-interest debt like credit card debt or a payday loan, that should take precedence over a goal like building up a down payment for a second home. On the other hand, if you have low-interest debt like student loans or a mortgage, you can probably pay off this debt over time while working toward other goals. Regardless of your debt load and financial goals, it’s a good idea to multi-task by saving for retirement or contributing to an emergency fund while you pay off what you owe.

Also, think through a few different ways to pay off your debt. If you're paying off multiple debts with similar interest rates but varying balances, the debt snowball method may be a good route to go. With this tactic, you pay off your smallest debt first while making minimum payments on your other obligations. Once the first debt is paid off, you roll the amount you were paying on it into your next-largest debt. As you pay off multiple debts, you'll build momentum, much like rolling a snowball down a hill. The debt avalanche method is similar. With this tactic, you prioritize debts with the highest interest rates.

Our tips

  • Multitask while paying off debt. Prioritize paying off high-interest-rate debt, but make sure you're also saving for retirement and building an emergency fund.

  • Give your money a job. Know how to direct any “extra” cash you might have to meet your financial goals.

  • Think about your money habits. Whether an issue of cash flow or money management, know what got you into credit card debt to try and avoid it in the future.

More about money resolutions and paying off debt on NerdWallet:

Have a money question? Text or call us at 901-730-6373. Or you can email us at [email protected]. To hear previous episodes, go to the podcast homepage.

Episode transcript

Sean Pyles: Welcome to the NerdWallet Smart Money Podcast, where we answer your personal finance questions and help you feel a little smarter about what you do with your money. I'm Sean Pyles.

Liz Weston: And I'm Liz Weston. To send the Nerds your money questions, call or text us on the Nerd hotline at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-NERD. Or email us at [email protected]. Hit that subscribe button to get new episodes delivered to devices every Monday. And if you like what you hear, please leave us a review and tell a friend.

Sean: This episode, Liz and I answer a listener's question about how to balance paying off their debts with other financial goals. But first to kick off this episode, Liz and I are going to talk about how to craft a money resolution for 2022 that you will actually stick with.

Liz: And you're probably thinking, "Hey, we're already a week into January. Isn't it too late to make some resolutions?" To which we say, absolutely not. Sean here basically takes all of January to pin down his resolutions. So, want to talk us through how you do that, Sean?

Sean: Yeah, I take a month because I want to be thorough. I don't want to be rushed. I'm also a big planner. So taking all of January helps me feel like I have enough time to think through what I really want out of my money and how I can accomplish it in a realistic time frame.

Liz: OK. And you're not making decisions when you're hungover on New Year's Day?

Sean: No. And fortunately, I was not this year because we kept it pretty low-key, so that was nice. But I think it's important to start big. People can think about where they want to see themselves in a year. Will you be living in a new home, or maybe working a new job? Maybe you just want to feel more secure with finances and save more money. I think it's important for folks to really visualize what they want their life to look like a year from now.

Liz: We've talked about George Kinder's three money questions and they're kind of detailed to get into, but what they do is help you home in on your values. Basically, if you were to die in five years, what would you do right now? What would you change? If your end date was much sooner, then what would you change? And then finally, if you die tomorrow, what would be your regrets? And doing those three questions can really help you figure out what your values are and how you want your life to change.

Sean: Right. I think it's important to have that context because as we know, life is so precious. And we've got to take advantage of every moment that we can and not stress over things too much, but do the daily practices that will get you to where you want to be.

Liz: And you are a big fan of the SMART method. Can you talk a little bit about how that works?

Sean: Yes. I like this method because it helps me get very specific about my goals, but I also have a little bit of my own twist on it. So SMART is an acronym. First, it's important to be specific — that’s the S. Make your goals as specific as possible. Then M, measurable — find a way to track your progress. For me, this year I want to max out my Roth IRA.

Liz: Yes.

Sean: So I'm going to be checking in monthly to make sure that I'm on track. And then attainable — make sure that you can accomplish your goal in a year or in half a year, whatever your time frame is for your resolution or resolutions. And next, make sure it's relevant. Make sure it's something that you care about and are passionate about.

Then on to the T in SMART — that's time-limited. And I mentioned that you can have your goal be six months, a year, a quarter, whatever time frame you want — it's important to lock it into that so you can make measurable progress along the way and have an endpoint in mind. But as I mentioned, I have my own twist on it. As the child of behavioral psychologists, I think that rewards are super important. So I like to have SMART-R goals. As you are accomplishing whatever you want to do when you're making progress, reward yourself. Maybe you're saving $1,000 this year and that's your goal. Every $100 that you save, go out to eat, maybe order something in, buy some shoes online, make sure that you are enjoying what you're doing. You'll be more likely to continue doing it.

Liz: Yeah, that sounds good. And you can also do things that don't cost money.

Sean: Yes.

Liz: You can go to a museum on a free day if that's your thing, or you can hang out with some friends at a park. It doesn't have to be something that will put you even further behind if you happen to be in debt or something like that.

Sean: It's a good point. But make it special, make it something that you can really savor and say, "Hey, I worked toward this."

Liz: And use apps to track your progress. That can be really huge. We like the NerdWallet app for tracking our various accounts. It can really help to be able to see that on a regular basis to remind you of what your goals are.

Sean: And one thing that I really liked to do last year was to break my goals up by quarter. I know not everyone thinks in quarters, but I'm steeped in the business world, so I can't help it. But for me, I had a handful of goals. I had some savings goals and I also had some goals around how I wanted to shift the way I was managing my money. And one of those, as I mentioned in the past, was shifting from my big national bank to the credit union that I now use. And I had a six-month time frame for that.

So by the end of June 2021, I wanted to be a proud new member of the local credit union in the Pacific Northwest. And that gave me plenty of time to do my research, make sure I was really actually interested in this credit union and then go through the motions of signing up for it. And I think that helps provide some even more specific structure to what you want to do.

Liz: Yeah, do you write this stuff down? Do you have it in Post-it notes around the house? How do you make sure that you stay motivated?

Sean: Yeah. Well, that's another resolution I have for this year, which is journaling more. In the past it's all been in my head, and that's been fine. But also, as you know, things can get a little bit lost or clouded in your brain sometimes. So this year I've made a point to do a little bit of journaling every day. On the first of this year, I wrote down all of my resolutions in different areas of my life and time frames in which I want to accomplish them. So I'm getting interested in watercolor painting. So I want to do three different days of painting a week, something like that.

Liz: Congrats.

Sean: And for my financial resolutions, I want to make sure that I am at the halfway point to max out my Roth IRA by June so that I'm on track for that. I don't want to be throwing all of my money in at the end of the year. I like to take it like a steadier approach. People can just put all their money in toward the end of the year, but that's not how I want to do it.

Liz: Yeah. Well, and I think it's a lot easier when you set up those goals and make them automatic, and you're not trying to rush to get everything done by the end of the year.

Sean: Yeah.

Liz: And I think that's really smart for you to give yourself a whole month, because the end of the year is so frantic anyway. It's not just the hangover issue. There's so many other things to take care of. So good for you.

Sean: Exactly. And that way with, actually, my Roth IRA, I'm going to have to shift around how I'm managing my finances overall. I'm going to look at what my contributions are to my 401(k). And I still like to contribute around 10% to 15% of my income into my retirement accounts. This is a pretty standard benchmark that a lot of financial advisors will recommend. And I want to see how that would break down between what I'm putting into my 401(k) and what I have in my Roth IRA. I might actually reduce what I'm putting into my 401(k) so I can put more into my Roth IRA. But these are questions I still haven't fully answered. And that's why I want to take the whole month to sort through them.

Liz: A lot of times the advice is to put enough into your 401(k) to get the full company match, then max out your Roth. And then if you can still save more, go back and put more in your 401(k).

Sean: OK. That's good to know. Because right now I've been doing double our match, basically. And I'm thinking, OK, because I've had a 401(k) for a long time, that seems like the most secure, reliable vehicle for retirement savings, but it's practically the same in terms of what I'm saving for.

Liz: Yeah, you don't get the tax break, obviously, with the Roth, but given the fact you're such a good saver and you're so young, you are likely to be in a higher tax bracket down the road. So it totally makes sense to put that money in the Roth now.

Sean: And that's why I'm trying to prioritize it this year. So Liz, do you have any financial resolutions for 2022?

Liz: I don't really do a lot resolutions. I try to improve habits. Many years ago, I got into an exercise habit. Now I'm trying to get into meditation. My one resolution is to spend every freaking dime on every gift card that I can find because I'm so sick of carrying around these ones with 20 bucks or 5 bucks or whatever. And I'm writing a column about this. I actually lost a $100 gift card, and that just …

Sean: Oh no.

Liz: However, I have one of those Vanilla gift cards. My daughter would get gift cards and then I'd buy them from her because she's not a big gift card fan. So this particular one, I have no idea how much is on it. I go on the site to find out how much is on it and I'm told there's an error message. So because I'm a journalist, I can call the PR people and be like, what the heck? Because if you tried to use the automated services, it's a nightmare. They keep asking, "Where's your receipt? Where's your receipt?" I don't have a receipt. It's a gift card.

Sean: You don't have a receipt? Yeah.

Liz: Anyway, it still unresolved, amazingly. It's been weeks. And we're still trying to figure out what happened with this card. Was there fraud? Was it never activated? Who knows? So I may have to report back on that one later.

Sean: Yeah, you may need more than a month to sort that out.

Liz: We have some goals for the podcast as well.

Sean: That is true. We have a pretty ambitious resolution for the Smart Money Podcast this year. We want to more than double the number of folks that we reach on the podcast. And we can only really do that with the help of our listeners. So if you enjoy the podcast — maybe you're new, maybe you're a longtime listener — please review us, please tell your friends, rate us, get the word out, because we love to help you guys. So thank you for taking the time to do that in advance. We really do appreciate it.

Liz: Oh yes, absolutely. And with that, let's get on to the money question.

Sean: Sounds good.

Liz: This episode's money question comes from a listener's text message. Here it is:

“I'm carrying less than $5,000 in credit card debt, around $25,000 in student loans, and I just bought a condo. I'd like to buy a house in a few years and keep the condo as a rental property. Am I better off to use ‘extra cash’ to pay off debt, pay extra on the mortgage, or build a pile of cash for the next down payment? Thanks!”

Sean: To help us answer our listener's question, we are joined by personal finance Nerd and occasional co-host of the Smart Money Podcast, Sara Rathner.

Liz: Welcome back to the podcast, Sara.

Sara Rathner: Thanks for having me.

Sean: It is great to have you as always. And I want to start off by talking about how to prioritize debt payments. Before we hopped on this recording, we discovered that the three of us have different approaches to how to prioritize debt payments. Sara, can you give us your thoughts first?

Sara: I'm team avalanche method for this particular situation. And the avalanche method of debt repayment is where you make a list of all of your debts from the highest interest rate to the lowest interest rate. And every month you make at least a minimum payment on every single one of those debts so you keep your accounts in good standing, but then you apply any extra money you have in your budget to the debt with the highest interest rate first. And as you pay that off, you begin to tackle the next-highest-interest-rate debt on the list, and so on, until ideally you are debt-free one day.

Sean: In contrast to the debt avalanche method that you are a proponent of, Sara, I'm typically team debt snowball, where you pay off your smallest debts first while also making minimum payments on your other accounts. And then once you pay off that smallest account, you roll the amount you were paying into that towards your next-biggest debt, like rolling a snowball down a hill.

Primarily, it comes down to positive reinforcement. You get a surge of endorphins when you pay off a debt. This typically works best when someone has multiple debts that have similar interest rates. If our listener had multiple credit card accounts, I think this could make sense for them. But Sara, I think you might have a good point, because they have $5,000 in credit card debt — their smallest balance and probably their highest-interest-rate debt. So it's two-for-one in the situation.

Sara: When I saw the $5,000 balance in a credit card compared to the size of their other debts, and we don't know how big their mortgage is — but I assume it's probably bigger than their student loans, especially given how real estate costs are these days — that sends up "ding, ding, ding" in my head. "Get that debt off of your back."

Sean: Liz, you know what teams Sara and I are on. What team are you on?

Liz: I'm team pay-off-debt-the-smart-way. I think people get too excited sometimes about paying off debt and they don't look at the bigger picture. So the bigger picture is, not all debt is bad, and some debts help you get ahead. In this case, I think we're all on the same page. There's really no advantage to having credit card debt. It typically is high-rate. It's the thing you probably want to get rid of first. Even though we're on different teams, I think we're coming together on the recommendation for this listener.

Sean: I also would love to learn more about this listener. Like, how much are they making annually? How much does their mortgage cost monthly? What's their credit score? How much do they have in savings? All of these things could help us determine how they would maybe make a decision of what to do with their money and how to pay off their debts.

Liz: I'm a huge fan of prioritizing retirement savings above all else — retirement's expensive, and it's going to come sooner than you think. You don't want to put off retirement while you're paying off debt. You really need to multitask. If they're already on track for saving for retirement, then they've got a lot of options with this extra cash that's coming up.

Sean: I want to talk about that term "extra cash." I don't believe there is such a thing as extra cash if you are allocating your budget wisely. If you give your dollars a job, you can have your retirement savings going, your debt payoff going, and also money allocated for going out to eat, having fun with your friends. That's still a purpose for your money. I just don't really buy into the idea of extra cash, but maybe that's just me.

Sara: I like that mentality of giving all of your dollars a job. That's essentially what budgeting is. But budgeting is something that people hate with the vengeance of a thousand fiery suns. So let's give it a new name, let's rebrand. And there are ways to do this without feeling like you have to sit down every month with a spreadsheet, going through every penny. "Oh, did I spend too much on coffee?" No, you don't have to do that. You don't punish yourself every month. Stop.

But what is helpful is if you think about your big financial goals first, whether that's debt payment or saving for home purchase — there are all these big things in your life. Start thinking about all the big audacious goals and start giving your money jobs within all of those goals. That's a more sustainable way of budgeting, of the B-word.

Instead of thinking about all these nitpicky, small expenses, start with the big stuff first. And then you know that you're putting money where you need it to go. And then I've done all the big stuff. Now I want to set aside some money, meet my friends for a drink once in a while, or go out to dinner, go out to a movie. You should be able to do both because you have paid into your big goals.

Sean: And I keep going back to the question of how much our listener has in their savings account just for emergencies because before they even think about building a pile of cash for their next down payment. I think it would be smart for them to have three to six months of expenses saved up if they are going to go on and get a second property.

Liz: That's a really good goal to have. And I even want to look at the bigger picture around how did they get into credit card debt in the first place? Because that's an indication that they don't have a job for every dollar, that they're using credit to pay for various things that maybe should be saved for instead. Or there could be other issues — maybe they have medical debt because they don't have adequate insurance. We don't know, but that's a good thing if you do have credit card debt to sit down and figure out why, and to see if there's a way to avoid that debt in the future.

Sean: And sometimes it isn't all bad. For example, when I bought my house over the summer of 2021, my partner and I took out a zero-interest credit card and put things like a sofa, a mattress, various things like that on a zero-interest credit card because we could pay for all of that in one go — we were lucky enough to be able to do that — but we didn't want to. We didn't want to just lose that liquidity right then and there. We're paying it off gradually. We got all the points for it. We have a plan to knock it out well before the zero-interest period expires. It could be not so bad, but I do have that same question: What's going on with this credit card debt? Why do they have it?

Liz: Because it's a slippery slope. You could wind up thinking, "OK, just having a little debt is fine," and it can snowball on you, as it were.

Sean: The bad kind of debt snowball.

Liz: Yes, exactly.

Sara: Compound interest can work in your favor if you invest, but it can also work in the opposite direction if you have credit card debt. That's just important to recognize. So I really like the idea of taking the time to explore how you got into debt, into credit card debt specifically in the first place.

There might just be one easy explanation, like “I used my credit card to buy some furniture and I financed it and now I'm paying it off,” or might just be this death by a thousand cuts: couldn't pay the bills, “I had an unexpected expense. Now I'm trying to catch up. It's taking me a long time.” The hope is that you can avoid getting back into credit card debt in the future because the last thing you want to do is finally dig your way out of that hole only to be one unexpected expense away from getting right back into that hole, especially if — oh God — if you are planning on having a primary residence and an investment property. I don't know how to tell you this, but things break all the time.

Sean: Yeah.

Sara: And if you own a condo, you are also potentially on the hook for repairs to the entire building if you get an assessment. Your condo fees are one thing, but you might occasionally be asked to pony up more. You can't just raise the rate on an existing tenant just because of that.

Sean: Nor do you want that to be the reason you go into credit card debt again.

Liz: The situation of wanting to turn the condo into a rental does have a bright side in terms of the mortgage. The listener was asking, should they make extra payments on the mortgage, and I think we all kind of dismissed that. Generally, you don't want to pay extra on a mortgage until you pay off all other debt. But particularly if you are renting, you can write off that mortgage. You probably aren't getting a tax break for it now, but you will be once you start renting it out. So again, no hurry to pay that mortgage off.

Sean: One quick aside around getting a tax break for your mortgage payment: That is something that I felt very misled about before I got my house. So many people who actually even were new homeowners were like, "Oh, it's great. You get to write off your mortgage payments, yada, yada." And that's not the case.

Liz: Very few people actually get to itemize anymore. Maybe 10% of taxpayers itemize. They tend to be the ones with the massive mortgages. So if you're on the East Coast, if you're on the West Coast, in a big city, yeah, maybe you're getting some tax benefit for your mortgage.

Most people didn't get a huge benefit from their mortgage, even when they were getting a tax deduction. Typically, that's not a reason to hang on to a mortgage. The better reason to hang on to a mortgage is that you have better uses for your money, like you're not saving enough in your retirement account, you need a bigger emergency fund, you've got other debt to pay off, you want to pay for your kids' college. There's tons of reasons not to make extra payments on a mortgage, but the tax break typically isn't one of them.

Another thing we need to talk about is the student loans. Now, we don't know if the listener has private or federal student loans, which can have an effect on how they approach the debt. They typically don't want to refinance federal student loans, but maybe they want to refinance private loans.

Sean: And that's one thing I'm thinking about too, going back to the question of, what is our listener's credit score? We don't know. But if they have a decent credit score and they do have private loans that have a high interest rate, now could be potentially a good time to think about refinancing those for a lower interest rate. And also if they have a high credit score, they might want to think about getting a balance transfer card for their credit card debt to get a credit card that has a lower interest rate as well.

Sara: Typically, with balance transfer cards, you need good to excellent credit to qualify. If that doesn't apply to you, personal loans are another option. They aren't going to be zero interest, but they could be a lower interest rate than the credit cards you charged. And if your debt is spread across multiple cards, you can consolidate all of those multiple debts into one monthly payment. That could be helpful for budgeting. It's a little bit more convenient. Plus, there's a set repayment time frame so you know OK, I'm paying this off over three years and then I'm done. There's a lot of helpful mental math that comes with that. Just knowing that you have an end date in mind is really nice. That could be another option if the balance transfer cards just don't work out for you.

Sean: Well, assuming that our listener has a 17% APR and a one-year payoff time frame, that would be about a $450 payment per month. They could save $478 in interest according to our debt payoff calculator.

Liz: That's a substantial amount.

Sean: Yeah.

Sara: Yeah, think about the stuff you could do with that money instead of yet another debt payment, because that's essentially what it equals. You can put that into a savings account for another purpose — $478, that could buy a pretty major home appliance depending on what you need. So if you've needed to replace something around the condo or you're thinking of buying house and you want to start a fund for home repairs and renovations, then that's money that you could put toward something else instead of putting it toward debt.

Sean: That would be some extra cash to actually utilize in some way. Let's talk about uses of "extra cash," some money that's left over that isn't going to your immediate expenses. What do you think people should use this extra cash for?

Sara: I like having what I call the home repair emergency fund. And it's a specific emergency fund that I earmark toward my house. Not toward car repairs or any other unexpected expense, vet bills and whatnot. And it's because you live in a place long enough and you realize that stuff is just going to break and it's never all going to break at the same time, until sometimes it does. You're living your life, and then all of a sudden you have an extremely expensive month because your dryer broke and then you had to call an electrician for something and, and, and, and. It's endless.

I would recommend for anybody that owns a house or owns an investment property that they rent out to a tenant: You have the grave responsibility of providing a home for somebody else, so you need to keep it in good working order. And that takes money. You need to have that money available. You'll avoid getting into debt when a pipe bursts. Having money set aside for your house or your condo is so important.

Sean: I really do like the idea of having various designated emergency funds. There can be one emergency fund that you have as your larger pool for things like if you lose your job, you'll cover your housing payment with that. But then I actually have what I call a life happens fund. I got this idea from Michelle Singletary, the Washington Post columnist who we interviewed on the podcast last summer, and she mentioned this idea. It's for things like a parking ticket, your wheel pops off your car and you have to get a random replacement — this happened to my partner last week. Things that you don't really want to have coming out of your debit account monthly, but you can cover if you have this pool of money that's designated for general mishaps that will happen to you.

Sara: I actually keep a buffer of three months of mortgage payments. And it's a specific account that we pay our mortgage out of that we each feed into from our respective accounts. And we are consistently three months ahead. And that is the rule that we've set because no matter what happens, we have three months of mortgage in that account ready to go.

Sean: That's awesome.

Sara: That can give us a little bit of a runway just in case we are scrambling because of loss of income or something like that. I've been with my husband for a decade. We've both experienced job loss in that time, multiple times, because a decade's a long time. Oh, you really need that buffer there so you know that you can focus on job hunting and not on whether or not you could keep the roof over your head.

Liz: If you need rules of thumb, certified financial planners typically say that you should have maybe three to six months in your emergency fund. Start anywhere. You don't need that right away, but over time.

Sara: Takes a long time to build to that.

Liz: It really does. It can take years and years. So don't put everything else on hold while you're doing that. The other rule that I found really helpful is to save 1% of the value of your house each year for repairs. And again, very loose rule of thumb, if you're in an area with harsh weather, maybe you'll be spending more because you need to replace your siding and your roof more often, whatever, but at least that gives you something to shoot for. You won't have those expenses every year, but every few years, as Sara said, you will have a big expense and you'll be really glad to have that cash.

Sara: I'm noticing now labor and materials are costing more. Supply chain issues. So projects you have around your house that you might notice an inflated price compared if you had had them done two years ago, that's just something to keep in mind. You might have to budget a little bit extra if there are some projects you've been planning.

Sean: Well, Sara, do you have any final thoughts for our listener or anyone else that is working through how to prioritize debt payments and other goals?

Sara: I really just love the idea of giving every dollar a job. I love that so much. It's truly giving yourself a different way of thinking about your money. It's almost like you're an employer and you're dispatching your employees to do good work for the company.

Sean: The Company of You.

Sara: And the company is you. And what that helps with also, if you're looking through credit card statements or your bank statements and you're noticing that you're paying for stuff you don't actually benefit from, it means that it's time to reassign those employees to other tasks. So it's constantly helping you reassess, well, where's my money going, and is it going in a place that actually benefits me in the way that I was hoping it would? And I think it just totally changes your mindset around money — instead of something to be feared, it's something to be deployed for your benefit.

Sean: Well, thank you so much for talking with us, Sara.

Sara: Thank you for having me back.

Sean: And with that, let's get on to our takeaway tips. Liz, do you want to kick us off?

Liz: It would be my pleasure. First, multitask when paying off debt. Prioritize paying off high-interest-rate debt, but make sure you're also saving for retirement and building up an emergency fund.

Sean: Next, give your money a job. Know how to direct any "extra cash" you have to meet your financial goals.

Liz: Finally, think about your money habits. Whether an issue of cash flow or money management, know what got you into credit card debt to try and avoid it in the future.

Sean: And that is all we have for this episode. Do you have a money question of your own? Turn to the Nerds and call or text us your questions at 901-730-6373. That's 901-730-NERD. You can also email us at [email protected]. And visit for more info on this episode. And remember to subscribe, rate and review us wherever you're getting this podcast.

Liz: And here's our brief disclaimer, thoughtfully crafted by NerdWallet's legal team. Your questions are answered by knowledgeable and talented finance writers, but we are not financial or investment advisors. This Nerdy info is provided for general educational and entertainment purposes and may not apply to your specific circumstances.

Sean: And with that said, until next time, turn to the Nerds.