How Debt Can Harm You

One of the most remarkable aspects of human existence is how so many otherwise wonderful things can be weaponized. 

Fire keeps us warm, cooks our food and powers transportation devices. Gunpowder was originally used to make fireworks. Nuclear power was first looked upon as an alternate source of energy. And, debt came into existence to help people acquire things they couldn’t otherwise afford. 

debt management

However, like fire, gunpowder and nuclear energy, debt can do irreparable harm if allowed to function unchecked. While it’s pretty obvious what fire, gunpowder and nuclear energy can do, here’s how debt can harm you. 

Physical Health Issues

You know firsthand the anxiety of seeing an unfamiliar number come up on the screen of your phone if you’ve ever struggled with debt and collection calls resulted. According to, a 2013 Northwestern University study revealed adults between 24 and 32 years of age with high debt-to-assets ratios (selling everything they own wouldn’t generate enough cash to pay off their debt) reported having significantly higher blood pressure. This puts them at risk for heart disease and stroke.

Emotional Issues

Getting back to the anxiety debt can trigger, the study also found indebted people experience stress levels some 11.7 percent higher than the general population. Dr. Elizabeth Sweet, the author of the study referenced above, told debt has a serious impact on a person’s psychology. “It causes a feeling of being underwater and not being able to get out,” she said. “That can really drag on for a long time and do a lot of damage.”

Interpersonal Relationship Strife

Debt is also one of the leading causes of discord in marriages — second only to infidelity — according to financial guru Dave Ramsey. Couples fighting over money and enduring the stress of debt imposes strains even the best of marriages. 

Moreover, this can spill over onto your relationships with extended family members, as well as friends. Asking for loans can make the people you know uncomfortable, as can celebrating any good fortune they may have when they know you’re struggling with debt.  

You could come to resent your employer for “not paying you enough” or not giving you a badly needed raise. You could also project negative feelings onto your children or elderly parents who need your help, perceiving them as financially burdensome.

Life in General Becomes More Difficult — And Expensive

Your credit score will take a hit, which makes it difficult for you to get a car, a home, insurance or even a job. And, if you do manage to get those things, you’ll pay a lot more for them because the interest rates on the loans and the premiums imposed by insurers will be much higher than they would if you had minimal or no debt. Ironically, people are reluctant to work with you when you need credit badly. Meanwhile, they clamor for your business when you don’t need it at all. 

Simply put, like fire, gunpowder and nuclear energy, debt can bring your world crashing down around you if you don’t keep it under control. Not convinced? Read through some Freedom Debt Relief reviews to get a feel for how intensely consumers were struggling with debt before deciding to try settlement as an alternative to bankruptcy.

Too many people tend to look upon debt as free money. However, when it comes to matters of economics, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a price and that price will be exacted in one way or another eventually. 

These are just four of a number of the ways debt can harm you. If you’re just starting out in the world and have yet to take on any financial obligations, be very careful to keep your debt in check. 

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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