Getting caught up in debt happens faster than we think. It starts with one account, perhaps a loan, or a credit card. And before long, consumers become reliant on more debt to plug other debts. This cycle leads to endless debt problems that can lead to debt counselling, sequestration and even bankruptcy.
The debt trap can catch anyone who is not managing their debts meticulously. By slowly incurring minor debts, ever changing interest rates and the rising cost of living can seriously deplete disposable income, which can lead to an inability to cover monthly debt payments. This in turn leads to late payments, or in drastic cases skipping payments. The majority of a negative credit record is reflected in poor payment.
In South Africa, more than 8 million people have what is considered impaired debt. That means that these people fell into the debt trap and are currently struggling to reconcile their debts effectively. Debt counselling was created in South Africa to combat these figures and help South Africans get out of the debt trap, one consumer at a time.
It is important to think carefully about debt and to know all the relevant figures, facts, hidden fees, fine print and possible interest escalations before ever taking it on. Being informed is one of the most effective ways to not fall into the debt trap.
Article written by: Andrea van Tonder 02-2013