The answer to that depends on your goals … and your personal financial situation. Most of the time, it depends on the debt’s interest rate. If you have debt with an interest rate over 10%, we typically recommend waiting to invest and paying that off as quickly as possible. If the interest rate is between 5% and 10%, it is usually best — although not quite as pressing — to pay the debt off first. And if your interest rate is below 5%, we typically recommend paying the minimum payments on that debt and putting any extra money in your budget toward investing. The long-term returns that have historically been available by investing are likely to outweigh the cost of that interest. Read more in this article.
One more thing: If you have a 401(k) employer match available to you at work, we typically recommend investing enough in that 401(k) to take full advantage of the match, even if you have high-interest-rate debt. (Here’s an article with more information employer matches.)