Which Debt Should I Repay First?
Debt Help Personal Finance

Which Debt Should I Repay First?

Erica Sandberg
Written by Erica Sandberg

Owe everyone under the sun and have no idea who should get repaid first, second and so on? It’s easy to get confused. You might be tempted to assuage the creditor that’s screaming the loudest, which is usually not the best plan.

Let’s say you have at least some of the following debts:

Overwhelming, right? Absolutely! So here is the list rearranged by order of repercussions. The debts with the worst consequences take priority over those with those that aren’t quite so dire.

1. Back child support payments.

This is the mother of all financial obligations. If you don’t pay, you could be found in contempt of court. After that, up to half of your net wages (including unemployment benefits) may be garnished, your driver’s, sport, and professional licenses may be revoked. Your car could be booted, tax refund intercepted, and a lien placed on your property. Public humiliation is permitted in some jurisdictions, and you could even spend time in jail.

About the author

Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg

Erica Sandberg is a freelance editor at large, reporter, and advice columnist covering all things fundamental finance. She’s been KRON-TV’s on-air money and credit expert for over 15 years, and has appeared on virtually every national news show, from Fox to CNN. She hosts Making it with Erica, a video program highlighting ways to live adventurously on any budget.


  • So insightful so depressing to know I have been doing it all wrong! Now to get working towards doing the right things Thanks Mike you give me so much information I’m hoping one day I will get to buy that house and stop making mistakes with my money and credit. Thank you for the awesome work you do, you truly are helping me to try and do better

  • A little confused on the mortgage part
    It’s states “19 months to Foreclose”
    Is that correct and is it in every state???

  • I love your writings and truly appreciate the information that you provide us. I have sort of an off topic question/concern. I had a medical bills that the creditors tried to come after me to pay. The bill was for dental for my daughter who was a minor. This bill had to be when she was around 13. They are now threatening to place it on her credit report. Since she’s not longer a minor. Can they do this?

    LaTracia Palm Beach County, Florida

  • The only thing that I know of is credit card balance I’m still working on how to get that balance done to a zero.

  • Your article was fantastic! However, you might want to check the numbering because there are repeated numbers even thought each point is different from all of the others. I counted 12, but the list only goes up to 10. Keep up the good work!

    • Victor,
      Thanks for reading! You can improve your credit score on your own by using the process discussed in our program (which you can access here), or by calling a company like CreditPros (at 855-980-4898) and getting their help to bring your score up. Best of luck!

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