3 Ways To Erase Debt With a Home Equity Loan

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Can you erase debt with a home equity loan or line of credit? Sort of. I am not suggesting that people go and take out a home equity loan to pay off debt. Because that is just taking on more debt to pay off debt. A no-win scenario. However, this is addressed more to the folks who already have a loan or line of credit and are not completely out of debt yet. So here are 3 ways to use a HELOC to get out of debt.1. Eliminate High Interest DebtUse the loan to pay off higher interest rate credit cards or loans. Most of these loans are at lower interest rates. Usually somewhere around 3% – 5%. If you have several thousands of dollars on a credit card that is at 15% then it makes sense to use the loan or line of credit to pay off the credit card. In fact if you have enough room on a HELOC to pay off other cards or loans then do it to take advantage of the lower rate and to consolidate multiple payments into one payment. Then accelerate paying off you home equity loan to get out of debt.2. Temporary Emergency FundIf you have $10,000 or $20,000 or more in a home equity loan or line of credit that is unused then do not use it and keep it as a backup emergency fund. Especially if you do not have the cash reserves yet for a true emergency fund. So while you are building up your real emergency fund keep the loan as a fall-back just in case anything like a job loss happens before you can build up a fully funded emergency fund of 3 to 6 months. In addition with the vastly lower interest rates on HELOC’s it makes sense to use it temporarily as an emergency fund rather than a higher rate credit card.3. Pay It OffLastly you can pay off the HELOC. If you already have all of your debt paid off and you have a fully funded emergency fund, then pay off the HELOC and get rid of it. Let’s face it, ultimately any sort of home equity loan or line of credit is debt. And it needs to go. If you have no real need for it then pay it off and eliminate that debt. Do not get the wrong idea that you have to keep it just in case. It is debt and needs to be gone. This is the best option of what to do with a home equity loan.No matter what you do be careful to fully think through the possible ramifications of using your home equity. The use of home equity potentially puts your home at risk if for some reason you can not pay back the home equity loan. Do not treat it lightly. Otherwise if you do have a home equity line of credit or loan carefully consider using it to help eliminate higher interest rate debt. Use it as a temporary emergency fund. And then pay it off and erase debt as fast as you can.