The snowball way toward eliminating debt

Jun 14, 2012
I have been paying down my debt using the snowball method. I'm making great headway and have cut my debt load in half in 3 years. I'm at a point where I need to choose between a home-equity loan with a variable rate (currently at 4.24 percent but eligible for tax deductions) and a car loan at 3.5 percent fixed. Which makes more sense to pay down? Scott, Chatham, MI

Taxes and a home equity loan

Mar 28, 2012
Hello. I'm 50 and single. I have a 15-year mortgage at 3.5 percent. My income is more than $80,000. I have a Roth and I am maximizing my company's 403(b) account. I have no credit card debt -- no debt in general except the mortgage, so I don't have a lot of write-offs. Does it make sense to get an equity loan and finish my basement so I can get a bigger write-off on taxes while investing in my home, or should I continue to just sock money away because it is better to not have debt? Thanks. Lisa, Salt Lake City, UT

Is the interest rate risk worth it?

Feb 29, 2012
We have 7 years left to go to finish paying off our mortgage and we have a manageable amount of home equity borrowing. How wise or risky would it be to consolidate that, borrowing at a lower rate, if the new loan would be a home-equity loan? That's the advice we're hearing from our bank and the stated rate should be lower than the rates we have on our existing mortgage and home-equity borrowing. Is there a reason to think twice about this? Thanks! John, St. Paul, MN