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What Should My Debt To Income Ratio Be

What Is Your Debt

Your Debt To Income Ratio: How To Figure It Out

Its probably one of the most quoted terms by lenders when determining if they can approve you for a line of credit, loan or even a mortgage. But what does it mean?

This ratio compares how much money you make compared to how much you owe. In even plainer terms, its how much of your income is spent on debt. To find out your debt-to-income ratio, first calculate your debt by adding up all the money you owe, from your balance to your mortgage. Then calculate your annual income by determining how much money you make per year, after-tax.

Your debt-to-income ratio is the percentage of debt you have compared to your annual income. So, for example, if your household owes $200,000, and you and your spouse bring in $100,000 as a team per year, your household debt-to-income ratio is 200%. That being said, its recommended that you keep your debt-to-income ratio at 36% or less.

It may sound horrible, especially since the average national debt-to-income ratio was reported to be 171.1% in the third quarter of 2017. But theres a lot of criticism on using this number as a true measure of your financial health, as it makes people in certain stages of life look terrible and others look overly good . It should be noted that a debt-to-income ratio also dont take equity or assets into account.

Why Is My Debt

Your debt-to-income ratio can affect your ability to qualify for a loan or a mortgage. It seems daunting but lenders do use it as a preliminary measurement to make sure youre not pushing yourself too far. The goal is to borrow money to improve your life, not put you at risk of deep debt. Similar to those with a bad credit score, lenders see those with a high debt-to-income ratio as more likely to run into trouble making monthly payments.

What’s The Difference Between Your Debt

Debt-to-credit and DTI ratios are similar concepts however, it’s important not to confuse the two.

Your debt-to-credit ratio refers to the amount you owe across all revolving credit accounts compared to the amount of revolving credit available to you. Your debt-to-credit ratio may be one factor in calculating your credit scores, depending on the scoring model used. Other factors may include your payment history, the length of your credit history, how many credit accounts you’ve opened recently and the types of credit accounts you have.

Your DTI ratio refers to the total amount of debt you carry each month compared to your total monthly income. Your DTI ratio doesn’t directly impact your credit score, but it’s one factor lenders may consider when deciding whether to approve you for an additional credit account.

Familiarizing yourself with both ratios may give you a better understanding of your credit situation and help you anticipate how lenders may view you as you apply for credit.

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What Is Gross Monthly Income

Your gross monthly income is the sum of everything you earn in one month, before taxes or deductions. This includes your base monthly income and any additional commissions, bonuses, tips and investment income that you earn each month. To calculate your gross monthly income, take your total annual income and divide it by 12. If you’re hourly, you can multiply your hourly wage by how many hours a week you work, then multiply that number by 52 to get your annual salary. Divide your annual salary by 12 to get your gross monthly income.

Mortgage Approval: Whats Behind The Numbers In Our Dti Calculator

Whats Your Debt to Income Ratio? This is just one of the questions you ...

Your debt-to-income ratio matters when buying a house. Its one way lenders decide how much mortgage you can handle and how likely you are to pay back the loan. DTI is calculated by dividing your monthly debt obligations by your pretax, or gross, income.

In most cases, lenders want total debts to account for 36% of your monthly income or less. Nonconventional mortgages, like FHA loans, may accept higher a DTI ratio, but conventional mortgages may not be as flexible.

Lenders consider low DTI as important as having a stable job and a good credit score. When evaluating your mortgage application, DTI tells lenders how much of your income is already spoken for by other debts. If the percentage is too large, its a clue you may have trouble paying your monthly mortgage payments, and lenders will be reluctant to approve your loan.

Hate surprises? Estimating your DTI with the NerdWallet calculator before submitting your mortgage application can help you understand how much house you can afford.

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Add Up Your Minimum Monthly Payments

The only monthly payments you should include in your DTI calculation are those that are regular, required and recurring. Remember to use your minimum payments not the account balance or the amount you typically pay. For example, if you have a $10,000 student loan with a minimum monthly payment of $200, you should only include the $200 minimum payment when you calculate your DTI. Here are some examples of debts that are typically included in DTI:

  • Your rent or monthly mortgage payment
  • Any homeowners association fees that are paid monthly
  • Auto loan payments
  • Student loan minimum payment: $125
  • Auto loan minimum payment: $175

In this case, youd add $500, $125, $100 and $175 for a total of $900 in minimum monthly payments.

How To Calculate The Debt

A DTI ratio is calculated by applying your gross monthly revenuebefore deducting taxes and other coststo the usual monthly recurring debt. This calculation will yield a value as a percentage that represents your debt-to-income ratio.

When your gross monthly income amounts to $6,000, for example, and your expenses include $1,500 for rent, $100 vehicle loan, $150 credit card debt, and $250 of other debt or loan paymentsi.e., $1,500 +100 + 150 + 250 = $2,000then your DTI ratio would total 33.3%.

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Lower Your Debt Payments

For most people, attacking debt is the easier of the two solutions. Start off by making a list of everything you owe. The list should include credit card debts, car loans, mortgage and home-equity loans, homeowners association fees, property taxes and expenses like internet, cable and gym memberships. Add it all up.

Then look at your monthly payments. Are any of them larger than they need to be? How much interest are you paying on the credit cards, for instance? While you may be turned down for a debt consolidation loan because of a high debt-to-income ratio, you can still consolidate debt with a high DTI ratio with nonprofit debt management. With nonprofit debt management, you can consolidate your debt payments with a high debt-to-income ratio because you are not taking out a new loan. You still qualify for lower interest rates, which can lower your monthly debt payments, thus lowering your ratio.

Remember that improving your DTI ratio is based on debt payments, and not debt balances. You can lower your debt payments by finding a debt solution with lower interest rates or a longer payment schedule.Other alternatives worth considering to lower your expenses and pay off debt:

Most important, make a realistic budget designed to lower your debt and stick with it. Once a month, recalculate your debt-to-income ratio and see how fast it falls under 43%.

What Is A Good Percentage Of Debt

How much debt is too much debt? | Awkward Money Questions

Consider again the question: What is a good debt-to-income ratio? In 2019, the average American household showed a DTI ratio of 9.69% This figure dropped to a remarkably low of 8.69% in 2020.

Moneylenders generally approve anything below 36% to be the ideal debt-to-income ratio. Some state-approved loans, however, allow levels of 41 to 43%. But these concessions come at a high price, with steeper interest rates and more rigid terms applicable to debtors with higher DTIs.

Note the distinction between a front-end ratio and a back-end DTI ratio:

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What Is My Debt

When banks and governments talk of debt, they use some basic numbers and ratios that you can apply to your own life. Front-end ratios, back-end ratios, debt-to-income ratios, credit scores.

These numbers can give you true insight to your financial situation, determine if youre carrying too much debt and help you understand how qualified you are for loan or a mortgage.

What Is An Automated Underwriting System

Themortgage underwriting processis almost always automated using an Automated Underwriting System . The AUS uses a computer algorithm to compare your credit score, debt and other factors to the lender requirements andguidelines of the loanyou’re applying for. While lenders use to manually underwrite loans, only a few do so today and usually only under a few special circumstances like:

  • If you do not have aFICO scoreor credit history
  • If you’re new to building credit
  • If you’ve had financial problems in the past like a bankruptcy or foreclosure
  • If you’re taking out ajumbo loan

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Putting It All Together: Dti Credit Score And More

Keep in mind there are several criteria lenders use to judge your creditworthiness and DTI is just one of them. If you have a high DTI but a good credit score and good credit history, your DTI might play less of a role in the lenders decision. Thus, if youre a physician with significant debt, you might still qualify for a loan despite having a high DTI if you have a good credit score and history. Many lenders offer Physician mortgages for this reason.

Tips For Improving Your Debt

What is the Debt to Income Ratio in Home Loans &  why should you care?

In order to make things a bit easier for you, we have decided to include a few specific tips about things you can do to improve income and lower debts. As we mentioned, its all about lowering debts and raising income, but that is pretty broad, so here are some real-life examples that should help.

Rent Your Space or Items

If you own a home, one of the best ways you can help lower your DTI ratio is to rent out a room or area of your home. Most of the time, this could potentially cover most, if not all, of your mortgage payment, which is one of the most common reasons for a high DTI ratio. It would essentially be lowering your mortgage payment, which is always a good thing. In addition to that, you could also rent out items or things you own in order to get a bit more cash.

What is a rent-to-own home?

Pick Up a Second Job or Get a Higher Paying Main Job

Raising your income is one of the best ways to lower your DTI ratio. Of course, the first thing you could do is approach your boss about a raise. If they are unwilling, you can either look to get a job that is higher paying or simply find a second job to supplement your income.

Heres a list of the Top 10 Highest Paying Jobs in Canada.

Look At Making Some Money Online

Pay Off Your Debt More Quickly

Is it better to deal with debt or save your money? to find out.

Take a Long Look at Your Expenses

Check out our guide to automatic savings and automatic payments.

Look at Selling Your Car and Getting a Cheaper One

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Consider Getting Into A Debt Management Plan

A debt management plan is a repayment program managed by a credit counselling agency. It involves the consolidation of unsecured debts into a single, easier-to-manage monthly payment. A DMP is different from a debt consolidation loan, however, in that its not a new loan.

While enrolled in a DMP, youll still owe each original lender. However, youll enjoy much lower or no interest rates on debts included in the program.

A DMP will have an extra fee amounting to about 10% of your total debts. A potential drawback to a DMP is that it may not be able to consolidate all the loans you carry.

How To Improve Your Debt

When you’re applying for a mortgage, improving your debt-to-income ratio can make a difference in how lenders view you. Several steps can help you achieve a lower DTI, including:

  • Reduce your total debt by paying off credit cards and paying down any other loans that you can.
  • Avoid taking on new debt.
  • Consider a debt consolidation loan to make it easier to reduce debt faster.
  • Improve your income by asking for a raise, getting a second job or finding a new primary job that pays more.
  • Review your budget to see where you could save money to put toward paying down debt. If you don’t have a budget, start one.

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Recurring Monthly Debt Payments

Your recurring debt payments are payments made each month for current debts. These debts can include the following monthly bills:

Mortgage payment

Total Monthly Recurring Debt Payments


When calculating your recurring debt payment total, do not include standard operating expenses such as advertising, utilities, or postage. If your business is very small or operates out of your home, a lender may also factor in expenses such as personal loans, car payments, credit card debt, child support, and even student loan payments.

Your Student Loan Debt Matters

When Banks Will DECLINE You… DTI: What is a GOOD Debt To Income Ratio?

For the millennial generation, saddled with student loan debt and more than half unsure how long it will take to become debt-free, obtaining a mortgage can be a trickier process. This is because your student loan debt is factored into your debt-to-income ratio. For example, home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration actually requires your student loan debt to be factored in one of two ways:Your lender must use:

  • Your anticipated monthly student loan payment , or

  • The greater of: one percent of your outstanding student debt balance can be used if you dont know your anticipated monthly payment, or the monthly payment as reported on the credit report

Even if your loans are currently in deferment, they will be counted as part of your debt-to-income ratio. So, as you can see, your student loans can have a big impact on your ability to borrow money to purchase a home. Each program varies, so dont forget to check with your lender about student loan guidelines.

Don’t max out your credit cards

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What Is The Debt

The debt-to-income ratio or DTI looks at all of your current debt along with your total monthly income. DTI is always expressed as a percentage and helps potential lenders see how well youre currently managing your debt, as well as let them know whether as a borrower, youre in a position to add more debt. A lower debt-to-income ratio is always better than a higher DTI.

For example, if your debt-to-income ratio is 20%, that means that 20% of your gross income is used to repay your debt. But if your debt-to-income ratio is 50%, that means that half of your current gross income is being used to repay debt. A potential lender will look favorably at a business with a DTI of 20%, while it will likely decline an application from a business with a 50% DTI.

The debt-to-income ratio is more frequently used in small businesses, while more established businesses use the Debt Service Coverage Ratio, which is used to better analyze company income compared to current debt obligations.

What Is Included In The Debt

When deciding how to figure out the debt-to-income ratio, there is a list of certain expenses that need to be addressed, including:

  • Monthly rent/mortgage
  • Alimony/child support
  • s

Note that all of the above may not collectively exceed 36% of overall income. The cost of utilities, health insurance, transportation, a savings account, food, entertainment, and clothing, are not usually included in debt-to-income ratio calculations.

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/i X 100% = Debt To Income Ratio

If you want a $300,000 home, your mortgage payments will be in the ballpark of $1,500 per month. Let’s say you paid off all of your student loans have a balance of $5,000 on a credit card with a minimum payment of $150 and you also have a car loan that costs you $250 a month. In this case: X is $1500 D is 400, and X + D is $1900

In Canada, banks will usually accept a debt ratio up to 42% or 44% if you have really good credit. Different banks have different rules, making the knowledge of an experienced mortgage broker extremely valuable. Based on the debt load above, if you make $60,000 per year , then the formula looks like this: $1900 / 5000 X 100 = 38% Debt to Income Ratio.Generally, if you have good credit and the above formula matched your financial situation, there would be a good chance that you will get approved for the $300,000.

If you or your household only made $45,000 per year , then the formula looks like this: 1900 / 3750 X 100 = 50.67%. A debt ratio of 50.67% would not get approved by a bank that had a maximum debt ratio policy of 44%. Basically, a debt ratio this high would mean that in the eyes of the bank, you cannot afford the payments and have money left for other living expenses. Your debt to income ratio is too high.

Apply For A Credit Consolidation Loan

What is the Debt to Income Ratio and Why Should I Care?

If youre still uncertain as to how to go about reducing the debt-to-income ratio, it may become necessary to apply for a loan to consolidate your remaining obligations.

There are many benefits of securing a consolidation loan:

  • A consolidation loan merges all various types of debt into one all-encompassing account. Consequently, debtors become liable for a single monthly loan repayment rather than several separate amounts. This tactic serves to strengthen the individuals credit score and effectively increase the reliability and credit-worthiness of credit applicants.
  • The upshot of combined debt is lower interest rates. In fact, the Average Percentage Rate on a consolidation loan can be as little as 14%, in comparison to 16 to 20% on typical personal loans.
  • Another benefit of securing a debt consolidation loan is that interest rates and repayment terms are fixed and do not change once you have accepted the terms. Although requirements essentially differ from one financial institution to the next, great credit card consolidation loans usually consider the DTI ratio together with credit scores. This is considered before deciding on whether to approve or reject a loan application. Shop around to find the consolidation loan option that best suits your needs.
Over 3 to 5 years

6.94 35.97%

Be sure to read the fine print and terms and conditions before committing to a debt consolidation offer.

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