Personal debt, also known as consumer debt, is a general term that refers to any amount of money owed by a person or a household, in contrast to government or business debt.
What is Personal Debt?
Personal debt simply means owing money for a personal loan, credit card, mortgage, or other form of borrowing outside of business or commercial purposes. Many people have some form of personal debt. Although debt carries risks, being indebted doesn’t automatically mean you have a major issue; it merely implies you were lent money and are expected to return it in a certain period of time.
Technically speaking, taking any loan puts you in debt. However, as long as you are regular and timely with your payments, being in debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Personal debt can be secured or unsecured. Secured debt comes with collateral in the form of valuable property, like a house or car. Should a secured loan roll into default, the lender becomes entitled to the collateral. Lenders can sell the property to regain some of the money they invested. Unsecured debt doesn’t include collateral and relies only on your promise to repay the money you borrowed.
Biggest Sources of Personal Debt
Some of the most common debt sources include:
A payday loan is intended to help you cover a sudden expense that can’t wait for your next paycheck. Instead of having to postpone an urgent issue, taking out a quick payday loan helps you resolve the problem right away.
A mortgage is a secured loan used to buy a home, which acts as collateral for the purposes of the arrangement. This ensures some security for the lender and, in turn, lower interest rates for you.
Auto loans are typically secured and used for buying a vehicle. They are classified as personal loans, they have fixed monthly payments, and the vehicle acts as collateral.
Student loans are used to fund higher education. Student loans are very common, as paying for college outright is not possible for most people.
How do we Wind up Accumulating Personal Debt?
If you’re buying a house, you will take on debt (a mortgage) to do so. If you pay for a purchase with a credit card, you incur debt prior to your monthly payment. There are many ways that people accrue debt throughout their lives, some more necessary than others.
Sometimes we get carried away by trends or desires instead of evaluating our financial capabilities first. Other times, the purchases and investments we make are genuine needs that sit outside of what we can comfortably afford.
Medical bills, education costs, vehicle malfunctions, and issues regarding our homes can be urgent, and limit the time we have to think things through or wait for the next payday. On these occasions, many of us accidentally put ourselves in a tougher spot while trying to avoid it.
Consequences of Not Repaying Personal Debt
Being in debt without making timely payments carries many potential consequences, such as a decreased income and impaired credit score. These consequences automatically translate to having narrowed borrowing options in the future, which could be problematic should you need to take out a loan for extra money.
Financial instability causes worries and stress to the people who experience it. However, reorganization, and a healthy mindset when addressing personal debt can turn the situation around to your advantage.
Besides the potential upside of taking a loan, such as buying a house that appreciates in value, or paying for an urgent repair, debt can be seen as an opportunity to show responsibility, and start your financial recovery.
How to Eliminate Personal Debt
If you have any personal debt that you are having trouble repaying, it could be helpful to analyze your prior financial decisions and see what got you into this position in the first place. From there, you can calculate the necessary payments needed to chip away at your debt.
It’s a good idea to set a budget for yourself; getting out of debt is the right time to get creative and find new ways to save money. Besides reducing your spending to only cover groceries, rent, bills, and nothing above the bare minimum, you need to educate yourself on how to tackle paying off your debt.
There are several measures you can take to ensure you’re exhausting all the available options: consulting with a professional, learning about debt consolidation loans, and doing some homework to see who you can trust with your financial needs. Available options to size down your debt or get an entirely new slate include refinancing, debt settlement, debt consolidation, debt negotiation, or in extreme cases, bankruptcy.
Taking out a loan with lower interest rates and a longer payment term can be an excellent solution to the problem. Debt consolidation could help you return everything you owe, but also improve your credit score as a direct result of becoming regular with your payments.
CreditNinja offers a range of options to support you in handling debt, including debt consolidation, other personal loans, and bad credit loans to help you get back on your feet.