Amortization in financial terms refers to the process of paying off a debt over a period of time through regular payments.
The payments are structured to include both principal and interest, with the principal component gradually reducing over time. Amortization is commonly used for large debt obligations such as mortgages, auto loans, and student loans.
The term amortization is derived from the Latin word “amortizare,” which means “to kill.” In the context of debt, this refers to “killing off” the debt by gradually reducing the outstanding balance until it reaches zero.
The amount of each payment that goes towards principal versus interest is determined by the loan’s amortization schedule, which outlines the payment breakdown over the loan term.
The goal of amortization is to make it easier for borrowers to repay their debt by breaking down the payment into smaller, more manageable parts.
Amortization also helps lenders by ensuring a steady and predictable stream of income from the loan. In addition, amortizing a loan over a longer period of time can result in lower monthly payments, but also a higher overall cost due to paying more interest over the life of the loan.