For most people it is difficult to put themselves in someone else’s shoes but for some reason I have always found it quite easy. They say that trying to look things as other people see them is a common characteristic for Libras!
I have to confess though that sometimes it is difficult for me to understand why other’s don’t realize the obvious! If I take something for granted I tend to forget that this might not be the case with someone else.
Some time ago I had a chance to play the famous Cashflow board game by Robert Kiyosaki. It was my first time!
While I was surprised how easy the game was (I was waiting for more of a challenge) – I was also surprised to see smart men and women doing very stupid choices! For them the game was very difficult – they couldn’t understand why they didn’t make any progress.
The main reason seemed to be that they did not understand the difference between good debt and bad debt.
The difference between good debt and bad debt?
Debt can be used in 2 ways:
- To purchase something that you want or need. For example a big plasma screen TV.
- To purchase something that helps you make more money. For example an apartment to rent out.
If you buy a new TV with your credit card, you will need to pay for the amount of the TV plus the monthly interest but at the same time you can not use your TV to make any money. Therefore the debt used to buy the TV is bad debt – it only takes money out of your pocket.
If you take a loan to purchase an apartment and rent it out – you will get an additional income stream. That way the debt is not used to make your life easier or for your entertainment (think TV) but as a means to make you more money. This is good debt.
For me it is difficult to grasp that a lot of people are unable to make that distinction and keep using their money in a way that makes them spend even more by having to pay interest or buying something that means additional expenditures!
Good debt is often also referred to as leverage – it means that you are taking a loan in order to make more money in the future. Leveraging your money is a great way for people with little money to make big things happen. For example when you start a business that is funded 10% by your money and 90% by the banks money – your own dollars will be making a lot more money than when you fund the entire company yourself. This is basically because with the 90% of the banks money you are able to start a company on a larger scale and therefore make more money.
Here are some things that can be considered as good debt:
- Taking a loan to buy a house or an apartment for renting it out
- Buying a car in order to start a taxi service
- Buying a car to start a moving business
- Buying a computer to set up your home office for your newly started company – the computer must be essential for the business to function!
- Buying a stake in a company that regularly pays you dividends.
The difference between good and bad debt can sometimes be tricky! The exact same things bought by different people can be considered both good or bad debt – depending on what they are used for.
It is my experience that a lot of people have trouble recognizing some forms of bad debt. Consequently they make some bad investments that seem like good ideas but actually aren’t.
Here are a few things that are sometimes incorrectly considered as good debt:
Taking a loan to buy a house
For some reason a lot of people think that since they need to buy a house anyway it should be considered as good debt. They feel that because the price of the house can go up (instead of down which seems to be the case lately) it is an investment.
Wrong! Your house does not generate any extra income. In fact – by buying a house you will instantly get several extra expenditures that must be taken care of. By buying a house you also buy a lot of regular expenses! Getting a house can only be considered as good debt when you rent it out or use it for something that makes you money. Financially speaking it actually makes sense to get the cheapest house possible.
Leasing a car
The same thinking goes here as well – “I need a car anyway”. A car can only be considered as an investment and therefore as good debt when it is bought in order to make you more money. Most people say that “Without my car I wouldn’t be able to go to work and therefore my car is essential for my income – thus it’s an investment”.
Wrong! However uncomfortable – most people could probably use a form of public transport to get to work. If you buy a car to drive to work you do not need a new and a fancy one – the cheapest one that drive’s will do. Anything more expensive than that is a bad investment and when bought on credit – considered as bad debt.
The prices of collectibles usually go up with time. That makes some people believe that if they use their credit cards to buy a rare coin or a comic book or etc – it can be considered as good debt.
Wrong! Although it can turn out to be a profitable investment it is still bad debt! The only way that buying a coin on credit can turn out to be a case of good debt is when you start showing the coin for money and therefore get a new income stream!
If you still don’t understand
If you read this article but have trouble distinguishing bad debt from good debt you only need to remember the following:
Good debt – Gives you an extra source of income that you did not have before.
Bad debt – Gives you something that can be useful but does not give you an extra source of income. It only takes money from your pocket.
Enter your email to subscribe to our future posts: