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Good vs. Bad Debt: How to Spot the Difference

When we hear the word “debt,” most of us immediately panic. However, debt isn’t always taboo. In fact, there is good debt and bad debt. Understanding the difference between the two can help you make informed financial decisions.

Good Debt

good debt

Good debt is an investment in your future. It includes:

  • Mortgages: Real estate typically appreciates over time, and owning a home helps build wealth. Mortgages have lower interest rates than most other types of debt.
  • Student Loans: Investing in your education can increase your earning potential and career prospects. Student loans have relatively low interest rates.
  • Small Business Loans: For entrepreneurs and small business owners, taking out a small business loan to invest in their company can be a wise choice. However, terms on small business loans can vary, so stick with loans that have low interest rates and short repayment periods.
  • Short-term Auto Loans: Car loans are a reality for many consumers. However, a car is a depreciating asset. Keep the financing to short-term loans to avoid making monthly payments on a vehicle that’s lost most of its value.
  • Personal Loans with Good Terms: Personal loans with favorable terms (reasonable interest rates and short repayment terms) can be considered good debt. The purpose of the loan also matters. For example, using a low-interest personal loan for debt consolidation of high-interest debt can be a wise strategy.

Bad Debt

bad debt

Bad debt is any debt that has a negative impact on your finances. It includes:

  • Credit Card Debt: Using credit cards can be an expensive way to borrow money, with high interest rates. Consumers often use credit cards to purchase items that lose value or never possessed tangible value.
  • High-interest Loans: Loans with poor terms or obligations you struggle to pay can be considered bad debt.

Interest Rates and Shopping Around

When considering debt, it’s essential to understand the interest rates and shop around for the lowest interest rate. This can help you save money in the long run.


Understanding the difference between good and bad debt is crucial for making informed financial decisions. Good debt can help you achieve your financial goals, while bad debt can work against you.

By understanding the interest rates and shopping around for the best deals, you can make the most of your debt and build a better financial future.

How can you use debt to your advantage and avoid falling into the trap of bad debt?


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