Defining Good and Bad Debt

Defining Good and Bad Debt- Complete Controller

What is Debt?

Debt is the borrowing of money from one party to another. The money is borrowed under the condition that it must be returned to the lender later mutually decided by the parties. Individuals and corporations often take debt to fund different projects and meet needs one cannot afford otherwise.

For example, if an individual wants to buy a new machine for his project and does not have the resources to do so, he can borrow the money from someone. This money borrowed by the individual is a debt that he must pay later. Debt is often spent with interest to make the exchange profitable for both parties.

CorpNet. Start A New Business NowThis article talks about good and bad debt and sheds light on their significance.

What is a Good Debt?

How can a debt be good if one takes money from someone and returns it with interest? A debt is qualified as good if it helps the borrower increase his future value or net worth. It is an investment that will generate long-term income and grow in value in the future. Let’s consider someone who needs to pay tuition fees but does not have the money. He had two choices: study at another college or take loans from someone.

Instead of giving up on quality education that will help build a successful career in the future, isn’t it better to take loans from someone? The student loan taken today will help him pursue his career choice, increase his value in the professional world, and increase his chances of a higher potential income.

A good debt for one may not always be good for another. The classification of debt depends on the importance of the item purchased in the borrower’s life.

For example, an auto loan is a good debt if someone’s work requires a car. But, if someone cannot afford a vehicle and needs it to roam around with friends, the debt is not good. It is vital to use the money productively for it to be a good debt!

Download A Free Financial ToolkitDebts that have low interest rates are also good. Student loans, home equity loans, and auto loans have low interest rates; therefore, they are good debts. Also, good debts help one better manage his finances, leverage wealth, and purchase things to handle unforeseen events.

What is a Bad Debt?

Bad debt is a loss incurred by the lender due to the inability of the borrower to pay back the money, or the borrower is bankrupt or has financial constraints that hinder the payment. Bad debt is an expense for the lender and most businesses, especially those that sell credit. The company realizes the possibility of not receiving the money and forecasts a lousy debt based on past experiences and records.

Bad debts defer from doubtful debts. Debt becomes a bad debt when it cannot be collected. On the contrary, a doubtful debt may or may not be collected.

For example, if the payment is associated with the sure profitability of the borrower, then chances are that the debt may become a bad debt or not. In this situation, the debt is doubtful. When the lender knows it will not be collected, the journal entry will debit Bad Debt Expense and Credit Accounts Receivable.

ADP. Payroll – HR – BenefitsA lender must ensure the borrower is willing to return the loan before giving the money. The company does not have a lot of bad debt, as it becomes an expense and reduces profitability.


In summary, debt, borrowing money with the commitment to repay, plays a pivotal role in both individual and business financial landscapes. The distinction between good and bad debt hinges on its impact on the borrower’s financial future, with good debt serving as an investment that enhances long-term income and growth potential, such as education loans.

In contrast, lousy debt represents a loss for lenders due to a borrower’s inability to repay. Lenders must assess creditworthiness to minimize the risk of bad debt. Prudent debt management involves making informed decisions, utilizing funds productively, and understanding associated risks, enabling individuals and businesses to navigate borrowing with financial acumen.

Now that you know what good and bad debt are, keep it in mind before taking a loan!

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