Written by Alli

This post is all about the fastest way to pay off your credit cards using our Debt Tornado strategy. If you are confused about what the different strategies are, click our post on the Snowball, the Avalanche, the Tsunami and be introduced to our Tornado.

Scroll to the bottom if you'd rather watch a video.

So now we’re diving deep and showing you exactly how the Tornado works and how it is the fastest way to pay off credit cards.

Guess how much faster you can pay off your debt using the Debt Tornado than using the Debt Snowball?

You can pay off your credit card debts up to 20% faster and up to one year faster with the Debt Tornado method!

So let’s meet Debbie, a fictional character we made up to help explain the concept. She recently joined our Own Your Debt program and has $40,000 dollars in credit card debt spread across 5 different cards all with different balances and different rates.

She’s just like your typical American.

Debbie's Credit Card Situation

She has 5 different credit cards and they all have different balances on them and they all have different interest rates and the total amount of debt she has is about $40,000 dollars. Her average interest rate is about 21% which is fairly typical, 27% is high for like your travel rewards credit cards, 12% is on the lower end like connected to your bank account normally or something like that. Her minimal payments all add up to be about $1,130 dollars per month, which is a lot, it’s like a mortgage payment.

Debbie’s Income

After she pays for all of her housing and food, all of her needs, she has an another $1200 dollars leftover that’s going to go towards this debt.

As you can see that’s not much more than her minimum payment, really.

Caveat: A lot of people are in this situation where they're really just pressed to the limit as far as what their creditors demand to them for payments and what they can make. Definitely the biggest thing to start with is to try to distance that gap between your income and your expenses so you have more and more money to put towards your debt, it’s going to help you eliminate a lot faster, but we really use Debbie as this example so you can see how the strategy plays out for her.

Debbie came to us not really knowing what to do, she had a lot of questions like: Should she focus on building an emergency fund? A lot of people recommend building $1,000 dollar emergency funds even before you start tackling your credit card debt. She wonders if she should follow the Snowball method and pay off the smallest balance first as that what's a lot of people recommend too, and a lot of people have had success doing that too. She also wonders what she should do if an unexpected expense comes up, if she doesn’t have an emergency fund.

Debbie feels overwhelmed and out of control when it comes to her credit card debt which is absolutely understandable. There are a lot of people in the same place especially if you have $40,000 dollars’ worth of credit card debt and you're paying almost $1200 dollars a month towards your payments. It can seem really overwhelming and really hard to know what to do, where to start, and how to tackle it most efficiently.

So thankfully, Debbie joined our program and she now has a step-by-step guide to tackle her debt. We’re going to show you our recommendations for her so you can get preview of how you can apply our strategies to your personal situation.

Debbie's Timeline to Debt Freedom

So here you can see Debbie’s timeline to debt freedom

She joined the course in November 2018 and that’s when we put this projection together. You can see if she used the Debt Snowball method with a $1,000 emergency fund, she would pay off her debt in November of 2023. If she used the Debt Avalanche method with a $1,000 dollar emergency fund, she would pay off her debt about 3 months earlier, in August of 2023.

Using the Debt Tornado strategy, she would be able to pay off her debt in March of 2023, which is almost 6 months earlier that the debt Avalanche method and 9 months earlier than the Snowball method.

So how much money does Debbie save doing the Debt Tornado method?

Debbie would save almost $8,450 dollars in interest payments by using the Tornado method.

Imagine what you would do with an extra $8,400 or $8,500 dollars sitting in your bank account. You could take a trip to Europe. You could invest it!

You could do a lot of cool stuff!

So, how does this Debt Tornado work? And why does it pay off your credit cards the fastest?

Using the Debt Tornado method, Debbie pays down her debt by highest interest rate first. The Debt Tornado is basically a little tweak on the Debt Avalanche strategy. The biggest tweak is that she does not keep an emergency fund. I know a lot of you are throwing some red flags as you’ve been taught that you need to have to have an emergency fund to keep you out of going back into credit card debt.

But here is the situation: you're already in credit card debt! So by keeping this money in a savings account, you're actually causing yourself to pay more in interest than you would if you put this towards your debt immediately and started tackling that top interest rate debt from day one.

Without an emergency fund, people will ask what happens when we have an unexpected expense. So in Debbie’s case we estimated that she would have $1,000 dollars unexpected expense every 6 months that would account for some of those random unexpected expenses.

What would Debbie do when an unexpected expense came up? Debbie would put that expense on her lowest interest rate credit card.

Why we think that emergency funds are pointless when you have credit card debt

With a $1,000 dollars sitting in a savings account, how much interest are you earning on that money, maybe 1%, 2%?

2% if you’re lucky and are in a high interest rate savings account.

So, you're not earning much money on that $1,000 dollars. But meanwhile, your credit card balance is racking up interest at over 20%.

If you put that $1,000 dollars to work on your credit card debt, you'll be making more money in the long run.

Think of it this way: by putting that money towards your credit cards, you're saving yourself that 20% interest that you're paying on that credit card balance.

So, why do so many people recommend the Snowball method of paying down debt when the Tornado is clearly more advantageous?

That’s because paying down debt is exhausting and you will have unexpected expenses come up that make you feel like you're derailed and off-track and make you want to give up on your debt pay down game.

So, psychologically, if you have that emergency fund it helps people to feel like “okay I'm not derailed, I have this, I've prepared for this, I've planned for this,” which makes sense.

Given that it’s obvious that so many people suffer from paydown fatigue while paying down debt and feel like they're overwhelmed and get off course, how do we at Owen Your Future prevent debt pay down fatigue while following the strategy that makes the most sense mathematically?

A few things: we really stress community, accountability and identifying unconscious money habits.

In the first part of our course or the first thing we do with any coaching clients is it really try to tackle how you relate to money, how you think about money and dig up any past traumas or any past money experiences that can impact you negatively. The community aspect is there to support you and keep you going, keep you motivated, inspired by people sharing their wins, encouraged by people sharing their failures and struggles. It really helps everyone understand that there are other people going through the same thing you are, we are in it together and by working together and supporting each other we can get to the other side.


So if you're ready to Own Your Debt and tackle the Tornado method strategically and with care and confidence, you can schedule a call, talk to us, we’ll see how we can help you best, whether that’s coaching or courses. But just so you know, our free material is always going to be available, so wherever you are at your journey we have something for you.

©2020 Owen Family Enterprises LLC. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy




Written by Alli

Did you know you can save months by paying off your credit card debt by using the right strategy?

By the end of this post, you'll know which strategy is right for you. We'll be covering debt snowball, debt avalanche, debt tsunami and our favorite, debt tornado. We’ll also include a calculator comparing debt snowball vs. avalanche vs. tsunami vs. tornado.

Scroll to the bottom if you'd rather watch the video.

We've crunched the numbers of all four, to give you the best one.

So, what are these three strategies to paying off your credit card debt?


The first one, made popular by Dave Ramsey, is the Debt Snowball. This is based on paying off your lowest balance first. So, whichever credit card has the least amount on it, that's the one you go for first, doesn't have anything to do with interest rate, it is purely a psychological method because it gives you a quick win from the beginning, so you can see that debt gone.

The debt snowball is where you actually pay the most interest in the long run and it's the slowest way of paying off your credit card debt.


The second method is the Debt Avalanche. The Debt Avalanche, I'm not sure who coined this strategy, but whoever it was, was good at math. This is a mathematically based principle, instead of an emotionally based principle, like the Debt Snowball. This looks at your highest interest rate credit card first and that's the one you're going to attack first.

This one definitely reduces the amount of interest you're going to pay and you can pay off your debts faster than using the Debt Snowball method.


The third one is Debt Tsunami and this one is based on paying your most emotional debt first. If you have a debt to a family member or a friend that is really weighing on you that makes you worried, it keeps you up at night, this is the one you pay off first. This method helps you to overcome that emotional barrier right away. After you pay off the most emotional debt first, you go to the Debt Avalanche where you pay off the highest interest rate.

Depending on the status of your most emotional debt, this one could be slower than the Debt Avalanche, but it is likely faster than the Debt Snowball.


The Debt Tornado is a term we coined- it’s like a Debt Avalanche but with a little bit of twist. With a lot of these strategies listed above, their very first step (like Dave Ramsey’s baby step number one) is to save up $1000  dollars in your bank account as an emergency fund. We don’t agree with saving up an emergency fund first, and we know that’s pretty controversial, but we’ll explain why.

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Here’s an example:

If you have $1000 saved up in a savings account, earning you 1% interest, but then you have $10,000 dollars as a credit card balance that has an interest rate of 30%, we recommend taking that $1000 dollars and knocking out some of that debt. By doing this, you would stop paying 30% interest on that $1000 dollars. The alternative (that Dave Ramsey suggests) is you can keep it in your savings account and use that emergency fund to avoid putting more money onto that credit card.  But we recommend bringing that $10,000 balance down to $9,000 and should an emergency come up, put that $500 back on a credit card. Then just keep paying it down after all.

The Debt Tornado is the fastest way to pay off your credit cards.


The purpose of the Dave Ramsey Snowball method is to feel like you got a win and you’re making progress. But with our clients, we’ve been able to show them through visual methods, using spreadsheets and graphs, that they are making progress even when they have unexpected expenses and hiccups come along.

So it’s really all about tracking, and if you want to download our starter kit, which have everything you need to get started.

Mindset is super important.

When you’re tackling one of your debts by one of these mathematical principles like the avalanche or the tornado, it is really important to make sure you have your mindset right from the beginning.

Our course really helps with that. With our clients and coaching students we go through a whole series of exercises to uproot limiting beliefs and make sure your money mindset is in the right place so you can really jump in and budget and pay down debt effectively and stay on track.

We’ll go over the details of the Tornado method in another post, but with the Debt Tornado method you can pay off your debt 10%  to 20% faster than the Debt Snowball or Debt Avalanche. So you can shave off months to even years depending on your personal situation.

To get the Debt Snowball vs. Avalanche vs. Tsunami vs. Tornado calculator join the family and download the starter kit!

The Snowball vs. Avalanche vs. Tornado Calculator

Snowball vs Tornado vs Avalanche Calculator

©2020 Owen Family Enterprises LLC. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy