Are you ready to become debt free? Are you sick and tired of that looming student loan, credit card, or mortgage debt? Then you might want to check out ReadyForZero.com. In this review, we will explore Ready For Zero and how it works to help you pay off debt.
What is Ready For Zero?
Ready For Zero is a free online service that seeks to empower you to get out of debt faster and start building wealth sooner. Co-founders Rod Ebrahimi and Ignacio Thayer saw the massive amount of debt their friends were in and the vast number of predatory services that were trying to take advantage of them.
So, they decided to do something about it.
The byproduct is Ready For Zero, and I’m going to show you the ins and outs of the service so you can determine if it’s right for you. Let’s begin!
Check out their website for more helpful visuals.
How Does Ready For Zero Work?
Signing Up and Linking Accounts
After you head over to Ready For Zero, you’ll have an opportunity to sign up. It’s as easy as entering in an email address and password (okay, you might have to verify that password one more time – ha). Click sign up (free) and you’re in. Nothing to pay – or should I say zero to pay?
You’ll then be able to link your accounts: student loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc. This is pretty useful because you’ll have all your debt in one place on the overview page. That’s coming up in a moment.
The numbers in these screenshots aren’t mine. They’re just there as an example.
Overview Page and the Target Account
This is the place to get motivated to pay off your debt. The overview page displays something called a target account – the account you’re focused on paying off first. It shows your progress including your daily interest owed, daily pay down rate, total amount paid since you signed up, and how much time until you’re debt free.
The amount of time left until you’re debt free is especially useful because it helps you determine if you’re on the right track. For example, you might expect to pay off a credit card in about two years, whereas a mortgage you might want to pay off in 15 years instead of 30.
You’ll notice that Ready For Zero has you pay off your higher interest rate loans first (the highest interest rate loan is selected as your target account). Mathematically, this makes the most sense. By paying off your higher interest rate loans, you’re going to save money on interest.
Dave Ramsey, however, teaches people to pay off the loans with the lowest balances first. He advises this because when you pay off your smaller debts first, you get a quick boost of encouragement that you are making progress, which in turn motivates you to get more aggressive about paying off your debt.
Ready For Zero tries to make up for this boost by showing your progress and notifying you when you hit certain goals (for example, when 25% of your debts are paid off). The differences between the two methods are minor, but it is something you should know.
The overview page shows new activity on your account as well. It will give you payment reminders, encouragement to pay off balances, and special offers to help you get out of debt faster. While Ready For Zero does offer debt consolidation loans, they’ve personally told me that these are not scummy companies. For example, they partner with Lending Club . . . a pretty reputable peer to peer lending network.
The Progress Chart
Ready For Zero also has a progress chart that allows you to see the balances of all your accounts combined or separated. From this page, you can additionally share your progress with a friend or family member. Not only does this page give you an excellent overview of where you’re at on your debt free journey, but it also helps you stay accountable.
There’s some eye candy progress bars for each account under the chart, which are useful and fun. Okay, okay, so what if I check my AT&T data usage (which also has progress bars) on a regular basis? I’m a visual person, and I love great user interfaces (I know, I’m a nerd)!
Automatic and Manual Payment Recording
Remember how you can link your loan accounts with Ready For Zero? That’s so the program can automatically import your payments (it does so nightly). Have a payment you need to enter manually? No big deal, there’s an option for that too.
Side note: For those of you who are doing zero-based budgeting, you may want to make your loan payments flexible with your level of income for the month. Some months you might pay more, some you might pay less. It all depends on how much you can afford after your mandatory expenses. So don’t get attached to the idea of paying a set amount each month – you might have to break that trend!
This is perhaps one of my favorite features of Ready For Zero. It doesn’t help having knowledge without action. In other words, do something!
This page includes actions such as getting organized and fixing your environment. You’ll notice it also includes an option for debt consolidation, but it does explain the risks of doing so and the potential benefits as well.
Ready For Zero iPhone App
On the go? There’s also a ReadyForZero iPhone app so you can track your progress. It displays much of the same information as the browser version, including an overview of your target account and activity updates, your progress, your payment history, and a view of all your loan accounts.
Over time, Ready For Zero will probably make better use of the larger screen on the iPhone 5, but that isn’t too big of a deal. After all, if you have an iPhone 4 later model, you get to enjoy the Retina graphics, right? That should be good enough for now.
Ready For Zero protects you in a number of ways. They have 256-bit SSL encryption for all web data, money cannot be moved from any of your accounts (it is read-only), there are firewalls and 2048-bit security keys, and a whole truckload of other security features. Simply put, you’re safe.
You’ll also find several helpful (free) resources on student loan debt, credit card debt, debt consolidation, and budgeting tips. These are accessible whether you have an account with Ready For Zero or not. To access them, simply visit ReadyForZero.com and scroll to the bottom of the page – you’ll see them listed under Resources.
If you’re struggling with debt, have multiple loans, are finding your debt spreadsheets insufficient, and want an easier way to track your progress, sign up with Ready For Zero.
While the debt consolidation offerings and “highest interest rate first” payoff method might turn off a few hardcore Ramsey fans, what the guys at Ready For Zero have created is truly extraordinary and shouldn’t be overlooked.
In its current form, Ready For Zero acts as a visual guide to your debt situation and provides advice on how you should pay it off. Its presence on both the computer and smartphone is warmly welcomed, as it can be an ever-present help when you’re trying to figure out who to pay next and how much to pay them.
Take a look at ReadyForZero.com and decide for yourself.
Are you in debt? Do you have any questions about Ready For Zero I can answer for you? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best!