One of the key components for understanding structuring the finance for an investment portfolio is to understand the difference between interest only and principle and interest repayments for your loans. Choosing the right repayment type will be fundamental to ensuring you have the most efficient finance setup, to maximise your borrowing capacity, reduce personal debt at an accelerated rate and ensure you’re receiving the most tax benefits possible.
What exactly is the difference between interest only and principle and interest?
Interest Only (IO)
*Repayments are set at only paying the interest accrued per repayment (generally monthly for interest only)
*No principle is paid down, so the loan stays at the same balance during the entirety of the interest only period
*Interest only is set for a specific period – generally up to 5 years (however some lenders will allow you to set it for 10-15 years).
*When the interest only period comes up for expiry, it can either be rolled over into a further interest only period, or may require an internal refinance to extend the interest only for a further 5+ years
Principle and Interest (P&I)
*Repayments are set to pay both the interest accrued and a portion of the principle (can be set as weekly, fortnightly or monthly repayment frequency)
*As the repayments exceed the minimum interest charge, the loan balance reduces each repayment by a nominal amount
But paying debt down is always good, right?
We’re always taught to pay down debt as soon as possible, and generally it is certainly a good idea. However in reality there are some important considerations – especially with investments where taxation also needs to be considered. By utilising the correct structuring – including repayment setups, you can effectively reduce your interest liability in the most efficient way possible, saving you money and maximise tax benefits.
So what is the best option?
Unfortunately like most things in life – there is no single answer when it comes to structuring your loans. More often than not, an interest only loan with an offset account will provide the greatest amount of flexibility in most scenarios.
How does IO help?
By setting up your loans as interest only, the minimum interest repayment is only charged, allowing you to redirect any excess funds to the most appropriate loan OR offset account. This can allow the investor to choose to redirect the funds into their PPOR loan as accelerated repayments, the PPOR’s offset account or in the case of no personal debt, into the offset account/loan account of the highest interest rate mortgage in the portfolio.
Here’s an example:
Bill owns a PPOR and 3 investment properties.
Each investment property interest only repayment is $200 per week, the equivalent principle and interest repayments would be $250 per week. Instead of paying each loan down $50wk under P&I, he instead puts each loan on IO, and with the excess funds he pays down his PPOR by a further $150 per week ($7,800 per annum). This means he’s reducing his PPOR loan down at an accelerated rate, which can also free up equity for future investment equity releases.
Alternatively Bill might be considering to rent out his current residence in the future and will need a deposit for his next home, he instead would put those extra $150 per week into his PPOR’s offset account, increasingly reducing the interest he pays on his PPOR and building a deposit for the next home. When the time comes, Bill can access his cash savings as a deposit to purchase his next home, whilst claiming the fully tax deductibility of the home loan on his ex-PPOR.
*Even if the property is a PPOR, it may be productive to put the loan as interest only. The main reason to do this would be if there’s a possibility that the PPOR will be converted into an investment property in the future
*Should you have no personal debts (home loan, personal loans, car loans, credit card debt) and you’re not likely looking to upgrade your PPOR in the future, it may be beneficial to switch some investment debt to P&I, as a forced savings regime. This comes down to personal preference as the same results can be achieved with IO, but can still be a valid part of a consolidation phase when an investor may be looking to reduce their debt exposure and in turn increase their cash flow by reducing their interest repayments
*Interest Only isn’t for everyone – it does require self-restraint and focus, as it will involve accumulating large amounts of funds within offset accounts. If you cannot trust yourself not to spend the funds when available, P&I may be a more suitable repayment type.
How do I make sure I’ve setup my finances to work best for me?
Talk to an investment focussed finance strategist who can review your current setup and be able to advise you on how to structure your finances for cost saving, efficiency and to enable you to continue to grow your portfolio.
To understand how interest only can best be used to your maximum benefit for tax deductibility, consult your tax advisor for specific advice on your situation.BarlowParticipant@barlow606Join Date: 2015Post Count: 35
Thanks for great posts like this one, I follow a lot of your post and take your advice on board.
I am currently in this situation of trying to find the best way to get myself in a position to invest.
I have spoke to my Morgage broker about what to do (however he is no longer Morgage brokering and has but someone else in his place, who I have no faith in, to take over while he Persues other avenues of his business) he said it will most likely be around 12 – 24 months until I am in a position to do so.
I am reading and actively working my way through books such as “money secrets of the rich” by John R Burley and keeping an open mind to learning whatever I can without being too gullible.
Can you you recommend someone to talk to that is an “investment focused finance stratagist”, or would you be willing to give assistance to someone like myself that is not yet in a position but is working towards being able to invest?
Thanks in advance
Always happy to assist people – regardless of where you are in your investment journey and whether you’re ready quite yet, or still have to progress further before your first/next purchase.BarlowParticipant@barlow606Join Date: 2015Post Count: 35
Once I am in a better position I will be sure to get in contact.
Do you just give financial advice, or also tax type advice or Morgage brokering??
Everyone at Precision Funding are licenced mortgage brokers who are specialised in structured investment lending – no financial advisors or accountants are under this business at this time so we can definitely assist on any lending needs.
If you need any other information on the services provided, I’d definitely recommend having a read of the http://www.precisionfunding.com.au website – which also includes articles such as the original post.