A:

A debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is a personal finance measure that compares the amount of debt you have to your overall income. Lenders, including mortgage lenders, use the debt-to-income ratio as a way to measure your ability to manage the payments you make each month and repay the money you have borrowed.

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, add up your total recurring monthly debt (such as mortgage, student loans, auto loans, child support and credit card payments) and divide by your gross monthly income (the amount you earn each month before taxes and other deductions are taken out). For example, assume you pay $1,200 for your mortgage, $400 for your car and $400 for the rest of your debts each month. Your monthly debt payments would be $2,000 ($1,200 + $400 + $400 = $2,000). If your gross income for the month is $6,000, your debt-to-income ratio would be 33% ($2,000 / $6,000 = 0.33). If your gross income for the month was lower, say $5,000, your debt-to-income ratio would be 40% ($2,000 / $5,000 = 0.4).

A low debt-to-income ratio demonstrates a good balance between debt and income. Lenders like the number to be low because, according to studies of mortgage loans, borrowers with a lower debt-to-income ratio are more likely to successfully manage monthly debt payments. On the contrary, a high debt-to-income ratio signals that you may have too much debt for the amount of income you have, and lenders view this as a signal that you would be unable to take on any additional debt. In most cases, 43% is the highest ratio a borrower can have and still get a qualified mortgage. A debt-to-income ratio smaller than 36%, however, is preferable, with no more than 28% of that debt going towards servicing your mortgage. In general, the lower the number, the better the chance you will be able to get the loan or line of credit you want.

RELATED FAQS
  1. Can my IRA be garnished for child support?

    Though some states protect IRA savings from garnishment of any kind, most states lift this exemption in cases where the account ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Can creditors garnish my IRA?

    Depending on the state where you live, your IRA may be garnished by a number of creditors. Unlike 401(k) plans or other qualified ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Why would someone change their Social Security number?

    In general, the Social Security Administration, or SSA, does not encourage citizens to change their Social Security numbers, ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are my Social Security disability benefits taxable?

    Social Security disability benefits may be taxable if you receive other income that places you above a certain threshold. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can I take a loan from my 401(k)?

    The majority of employers offer eligible employees the opportunity to save for retirement in a qualified plan through paycheck ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does a bank determine what my discretionary income is when making a loan decision?

    Discretionary income is the money left over from your gross income each month after taking out taxes and paying for necessities. ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    How To Shop For Mortgage Rates

    Take these 5 steps to getting the lowest possible rate for your mortgage. Small percentage differences can mean big savings down the line.
  2. Budgeting

    Mortgages: How Much Can You Afford?

    Answering this means number-crunching as well as factoring in other considerations and expenses.
  3. Retirement

    Too Much Debt For A Mortgage?

    Just because a lender is willing to offer you a loan doesn't mean you should take it.
  4. Credit & Loans

    Millennials Guide: Buying Your First House

    Millennial homebuyers need to research a lot of things, such as how much to pay, down payments, PMI, FHA loans and special programs for first-time buyers.
  5. Budgeting

    The 7 Best Ways to Get Out of Debt

    Obtain information on how to put together and execute a plan to get out of debt, including the various steps and methods people use to become debt-free.
  6. Credit & Loans

    5 Signs a Reverse Mortgage Is a Bad Idea

    Here are the key situations when you should probably pass on this type of home loan.
  7. Credit & Loans

    5 Signs a Reverse Mortgage Is a Good Idea

    If these five criteria describe your situation, a reverse mortgage might be a good idea for you.
  8. Credit & Loans

    How Long Bankruptcy Will Affect You

    How long will the sad chapter of bankruptcy impact the rest of your life?
  9. Credit & Loans

    Refinance Vs. Debt Restructuring: What's Best For Your Credit Score?

    Discover key differences between refinancing and restructuring debt in regard to terms, the negotiation process and effect on credit scores.
  10. Credit & Loans

    Guidelines for FHA Reverse Mortgages

    FHA guidelines protect borrowers from major mistakes, prevent lenders from taking advantage of borrowers and encourage lenders to offer reverse mortgages.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Debt-To-Income Ratio - DTI

    A personal finance measure that compares an individual's debt ...
  2. Front-End Debt-to-Income Ratio - DTI

    A variation of the debt-to-income ratio (DTI) that calculates ...
  3. Debt/Equity Ratio

    1. A debt ratio used to measure a company's financial leverage. ...
  4. Credit Rating

    An assessment of the credit worthiness of a borrower in general ...
  5. Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

    A written, public, online record of legal claims to personal ...
  6. Roll Rate

    The percentage of credit card users who become increasingly delinquent ...

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!