A lot of us have them, but do we know how they work, what they’re for and when they’re useful?
I’m talking about offset accounts. Often offered by your bank, or talked about at BBQs, but not always fully understood. So, this week we’ll get every question you ever had about offsets cleared up once and for all!
What is an offset?
An offset is a bank account that is linked to a home loan or an investment property loan. It works like a regular bank account, but any money you have in that account is “offset” against your loan balance reducing the interest you pay.
So how does it work exactly…?
Say you have a $300,000 home loan and $25,000 in savings. Rather than being charged interest on the full $300,000, and earning interest on the $25,000 (which you then pay tax on), if you put the savings in an offset account you will not earn any interest on your savings, and instead will only be charged interest on $275,000 on your mortgage. That’s your total loan, minus the amount in your offset. The interest you are paying is reduced based on the amount in your offset account.
How much could I save with an offset?
It depends on how much is in your offset – the higher the offset balance, the bigger the saving. Using the example above, if your loan is $300,000 over 30 years at 5% interest and you had $25k in your offset for the life of the loan, you could shave a whopping 3 years, 9 months off your loan, and save a total of $73,320.14 in interest!
Does an offset change my repayments?
Generally your repayments stay the same but what changes is the proportion that is paid as interest and the proportion that goes towards paying off your actual loan amount (“principal”). Because the offset account lowers the interest you need to pay, more of your repayment goes towards the loan.
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