Use this to figure your debt to income ratio. A debt ratio greater than or equal to 40% is generally viewed as an indicator you are a high risk borrower.
What is my debt-to-income ratio?
Your debt-to-income ratio consists of two separate percentages: a front ratio (housing debt only) and a back ratio (all debts combined). This is written as front/back.
Your front ratio is %. This means you pay in housing costs out of your income each month.
Your back ratio is %. This means you pay in housing and other debt costs out of your income each month.
What does my DTI mean?
Your DTI ratio is a little high. You are spending too much on housing and other debts in comparison with your income. A lender would likely ask you to reduce your ratio.
What are some common DTI requirements?
Mortgage lenders use DTI to ensure you're not being over extended with your new loan. Experts recommend having a DTI ratio of 25/25 or below. A conventional financing limit is under 28/36. FHA guaranteed mortgages need to be under 31/43. Veteran loans need to be under 41/41. And non-conforming (jumbo) mortgages need to be under 45/55.
How To Improve Your Financial ProfileThe number one rule of personal finance is to earn more money than you spend.
When you apply for a major loan, the lender won't see how often you stay late at the office to help out the boss, what a great asset you are to your company, or how skilled you are in your chosen field.
What your lender will see when he looks at you is a financial risk and a potential liability to his business. He sees how much you earn and how much you owe, and he will boil it down to a number called your debt-to-income ratio.
If you know this number before you apply for a car loan or mortgage, you're already ahead of the game. Knowing where you stand financially and how you're viewed by bankers and other lenders lets you prepare yourself for the negotiations to come.
Use our convenient calculator to figure your ratio. This information can help you decide how much money you can afford to borrow for a house or a new car, and it will assist you with figuring out a suitable cash amount for your down payment.
How To Calculate Your Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI)It's as simple as taking the total sum of all your monthly debt payments and dividing that figure by your total monthly income. Firstly, though, you must make sure to include all of your obligations:
- Mortgage payment
- Car payment
- Credit card payment
- Student loans/personal loans
- Child support/alimony payments
- Other obligations and subscriptions
The sum of the above is your monthly obligation.
How To Calculate Your Income
Next, calculate your monthly income. Start with your salary and add any additional returns you receive from investments or a side business, for example. If you receive a year-end bonus or quarterly commissions at work, be sure to add them up and divide by 12 before adding those amounts to your tally.
To determine your DTI ratio, simply take your total debt figure and divide it by your income. For instance, if your debt costs $2,000 per month and your monthly income equals $6,000, your DTI is $2,000 ÷ $6,000, or 33 percent.
This number doesn't necessarily portray a detailed picture of your financial strengths and weaknesses, but it does give lenders the thumbnail sketch of your finances they need to make a decision.
Why Your DTI Is So ImportantFirst of all, it's desirable to have as low a DTI figure as possible. After all, the less you owe relative to your income, the more money you have to apply toward other endeavors (or emergencies). It also means that you have some breathing room, and lenders hate to service consumers who are living on a tight budget and struggling to stay afloat.
But your DTI is also a crucial factor in figuring out how much house you can truly afford. When lenders evaluate your situation, they look at both the front ratio and the back ratio.
- Front end ratio is a DTI calculation that includes all housing costs (mortgage or rent, private mortgage insurance, HOA fees, etc.) As a rule of thumb, lenders are looking for a front ratio of 36 percent or less.
- Back end ratio looks at your non-mortgage debt percentage, and it should be less than 28 percent if you are seeking a loan or line of credit.
No. Instead of worrying about your debt-to-income ratio, you should work towards lowering the number to a more favorable percentage. The DTI is an important tool for lending institutions, but it is only one of the many barometers they use to gauge how safe it would be to lend you money.
However, when it comes to buying a home, your DTI sits front and center on the negotiation table. You will certainly incur higher interest rates with a high (anything more than 40 percent) DTI, and you may be required to slap down a heftier down payment.
Seasoned lenders know that a ratio above 40 percent means you're treading on the slippery slope to fiscal collapse. It says you're making ends meet, but just barely. Lenders will assume that any additional loan you take on might be the last straw.
Can you lower your DTI? Of course! Lowering your ratio is almost as easy as calculating it. Then again, it will take you a lot longer. Fortunately, it's easier and quicker than improving your credit score, but it does require a major shift in your way of thinking.
Can you reduce your DTI to zero? Maybe or maybe not, but that’s still a goal worth setting. Use the following tips to put your best foot forward for lenders.
How To Improve Your DTIWe'd like to tell you to just spend less and save more, but you've probably heard that before. It might be different, though, if you could see your progress in tangible terms, and your DTI can do just that. If you calculate the ratio yearly (or quarterly), you will hopefully see the percentage drop steadily. If you conscientiously work your total debt downward, your DTI ratio will reflect that, both to you and to potential lenders.
1. Increase Your Income
The first part of your two-pronged plan of action is to increase your income. For starters, you could ask for a raise in salary or you could work more overtime. Racking up overtime hours is an excellent way to lower your DTI because it provides an instant boost to your plus column.
Taking a part-time job to supplement your normal salary is an even better way to increase your income, and the prospect of finding a part-time position in your field is excellent. Many people find that turning a hobby into a part-time job is like hardly working at all.
There are countless opportunities to be found online. For example, there are tutoring jobs in every subject and legitimate, work-from-home writing jobs. You can easily find a second job with flexible hours. Become a dog walker, consultant, or whatever else you would enjoy doing to supplement your ordinary wages.
2. Pay Off Your Debt
Work tirelessly at paying down your bills, loans, and other obligations.
Reducing your debt quickly is an act of attrition. Don't pretend you "need" something that you merely "want." Spending less now in order to enjoy riper fruits later on is a brave decision, and seeing the fruits of your labor grow by regularly monitoring your debt-to-income ratio is a terrific incentive.
There are numerous websites devoted to getting you out of debt, and you should visit them frequently. Explore consolidation as a way to simplify and reduce your payments.