Good Debt vs Bad Debt

Good Debt vs Bad Debt
Good Debt vs Bad Debt
Article Overview

Debt. Many people are afraid of the word, but it is a financial tool that most of us will use at some point in our lives. While it can be a valuable tool in achieving our financial objectives, it can also be a dangerous path to financial ruin. Understanding the distinction between good and bad debt is critical for making sound financial decisions. In this article, we’ll talk about what debt is, how to tell the difference between good debt vs bad debt, and examples of each.

Good Debt vs Bad Debt

So, what’s the distinction between good and bad debt? The main distinction is the return on investment. Good debt is a long-term investment in your future that has the potential to grow in value. Bad debt, on the other hand, is debt used to purchase items that do not increase in value and that we do not require.

When deciding whether or not to take on debt, it’s important to think about how your choice will affect you in the long run. Will the debt you’re taking on pay off in the long run? Will it assist you in reaching your financial objectives? Will it be a burden that you’ll have to pay off for years?

Another factor to consider is the debt’s interest rate. Interest rates on good debt are typically lower than those on bad debt. For example, the interest rates on mortgages and student loans are often lower than those on credit card debt or payday loans. This means you’ll pay less interest over time and will be able to put more of your money toward paying down the principal balance of the debt.

When choosing between good debt and bad debt, it’s important to put your financial goals in order of importance. Taking on debt may be a necessary step in achieving your goals of buying a home or starting a business. It is, however, critical to be realistic about your ability to repay the debt and to select a loan with favourable terms.

On the other hand, if you’re thinking about going into debt to pay for a vacation or a shopping spree, you should think twice about whether this is a wise financial decision. Even though it may be tempting to spend more than you have, getting into bad debt can have long-term effects on your finances that will last for years.

You can better handle your debt by knowing the difference between good and bad debt and by using a few other strategies. A budget that includes a debt repayment plan is one strategy. You can make steady progress toward debt-freedom by setting aside a portion of your monthly income to pay down your debt.

Another option is to combine all of your debts into a single loan with a lower interest rate. This can make debt management easier and save you money in interest charges over time. However, it is critical to select a reputable lender and carefully read the loan’s terms and conditions before agreeing to them.

To summarize, debt is a financial tool that can be used to help us achieve our goals, but it can also be a burden that has a negative impact on our financial future. Understanding the distinction between good and bad debt is critical for making sound financial decisions. You can use debt to your advantage and achieve financial freedom by prioritizing your financial goals and selecting loans with favourable terms.

What is debt?

Debt is money borrowed that must be repaid, usually with interest. It can be used to make purchases that we cannot afford in full, such as a car or a house. Credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and mortgages are just a few examples of debt. When we get into debt, we make a financial commitment that we have to pay back over time.

What is Good Debt?

Good debt is debt used to fund an investment that will grow in value over time. To put it another way, good debt is an investment in your future. A mortgage, a student loan, or a business loan are examples of good debt. While this type of debt may appear to be burdensome in the short term, it can pay off in the long run by providing a return on your investment.

Good Debt: Examples

Taking out a mortgage to buy a home, for example, is a good type of debt. While you’ll be making mortgage payments for the foreseeable future, you’ll also be building equity in your home. Your home’s value may rise over time, allowing you to sell it for a profit or borrow against the equity to fund other goals such as college or starting a business.

Taking out a student loan to finance your education is another example of good debt. Even though you may take on a lot of debt at first, you are also investing in yourself and your ability to make money in the future. With advanced education, you might be able to get higher-paying jobs and make more money over your lifetime.

What is Bad Debt?

Bad debt, on the other hand, is debt used to purchase items that do not increase in value and that we do not require. Credit card debt, payday loans, and car loans for a vehicle we cannot afford are examples of bad debt.

Bad Debt: Examples

One of the most common types of bad debt is credit card debt. We’re essentially borrowing money at a high interest rate when we use a credit card to buy things we can’t afford. We are charged interest on the unpaid balance if we do not pay off our credit card balance in full each month. This can add up over time and lead to a never-ending cycle of debt.

Taking out a payday loan or a car title loan is also considered bad debt. These loans are typically given to people with bad credit who have few other options for borrowing money. They frequently have extremely high interest rates and can lead to a difficult-to-break debt cycle.


Examples of good debt include mortgages, student loans, and business loans. Bad debt includes credit card debt, payday loans, and other high-interest loans used for non-essential purchases.

Examples of bad debt include credit card debt, payday loans, car loans for expensive cars, and any other loan used to buy non-essential or luxury items.

Good debt is considered an investment in your future, such as a mortgage to buy a home, a student loan to fund education or a business loan to start a business. It has the potential to provide long-term benefits and may have favorable interest rates.

The main difference between good debt and bad debt is how it is used. You use good debt to invest in your future, and it could pay off in the long run. Bad debt is used to finance non-essential purchases or luxury items and can have high-interest rates, making it expensive and difficult to repay. It can also have negative long-term consequences on your financial health.

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Written by:

Jim Pan, CFP, MFA-P

Jim is a dedicated, fee and advice only independent Certified Financial Planner with a focus on supporting healthcare business owners during their crucial growth phase. His expertise lies in offering comprehensive solutions to minimize taxes while embracing a holistic approach. With a career spanning back to 2010, Jim has established a strong presence in the financial industry. He proudly holds a range of designations, including Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and Master Financial Advisor - Philanthropy (MFA-P). He is currently pursuing additional designations and qualifications to better serve his clients and community. Beyond his qualifications, Jim is a member and an esteemed participant in the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), an exclusive global association comprising the top 1% of financial advisors. Jim's commitment extends to the community, where he spearheads numerous charitable fundraising events and plays an active role in enhancing the well-being of others. Additionally, he has contributed significantly by serving on the board of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Vancouver. Currently, he volunteers with Junior Achievement of British Columbia (JABC) to present personal finance topics to youths.

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