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In economics, consumer debt is the amount owed by consumers (as opposed to amounts owed by businesses or governments). It includes debts incurred on purchase of goods that are consumable and/or do not appreciate. In macroeconomic terms, it is debt which is used to fund consumption rather than investment.
The most common forms of consumer debt are credit card debt, payday loans, and other consumer finance, which are often at higher interest rates than long-term secured loans, such as mortgages.
Long-term consumer debt is often considered fiscally suboptimal. While some consumer items such as automobiles may be marketed as having high levels of utility that justify incurring short-term debt, most consumer goods are not. For example, incurring high-interest consumer debt through buying a big-screen television "now", rather than saving for it, cannot usually be financially justified by the subjective benefits of having the television early.
In many countries, the ease with which individuals can accumulate consumer debt beyond their means to repay has precipitated a growth industry in debt consolidation and credit counseling.
The amount of debt outstanding versus the consumer's disposable income is expressed as the consumer leverage ratio. On a monthly basis, this debt ratio is advised to be no more than 20 percent of an individuals take-home pay.The interest rate charged depends on a range of factors, including the economic climate, perceived ability of the customer to repay, competitive pressures from other lenders, and the inherent structure and security of the credit product. Rates generally range from 0.25 percent above base rate, to well into double figures. Consumer debt is also associated with predatory lending, although there is much debate as to what exactly constitutes predatory lending.
In recent years, an alternative analysis might view consumer debt as a way to increase domestic production, on the grounds that if credit is easily available, the increased demand for consumer goods should cause an increase of overall domestic production. The permanent income hypothesis suggests that consumers take debt to smooth consumption throughout their lives, borrowing to finance expenditures (particularly housing and schooling) earlier in their lives and paying down debt during higher-earning periods.
Personal debt is on the rise, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, according to the US Federal Reserve [ when? ], the US household debt service ratio is at the lowest level since its peak in the Fall of 2007.
A country's private debt can be measured as a 'debt-to-GDP ratio', which is the total outstanding private debt of its residents divided by that nation's annual GDP. A variant is the consumer leverage ratio, which is the ratio of debt to personal income.
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An economic indicator is a statistic about an economic activity. Economic indicators allow analysis of economic performance and predictions of future performance. One application of economic indicators is the study of business cycles. Economic indicators include various indices, earnings reports, and economic summaries: for example, the unemployment rate, quits rate, housing starts, consumer price index, consumer leverage ratio, industrial production, bankruptcies, gross domestic product, broadband internet penetration, retail sales, stock market prices, and money supply changes.
Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money or other agreed-upon value to another party, the creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, which differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest. Loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on economic value. For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.
In finance, a loan is the lending of money by one or more individuals, organizations, or other entities to other individuals, organizations etc. The recipient incurs a debt and is usually liable to pay interest on that debt until it is repaid as well as to repay the principal amount borrowed.
A credit risk is the risk of default on a debt that may arise from a borrower failing to make required payments. In the first resort, the risk is that of the lender and includes lost principal and interest, disruption to cash flows, and increased collection costs. The loss may be complete or partial. In an efficient market, higher levels of credit risk will be associated with higher borrowing costs. Because of this, measures of borrowing costs such as yield spreads can be used to infer credit risk levels based on assessments by market participants.
External loan is the total debt which the residents of a country owe to foreign creditors; its complement is internal debt which is owed to domestic lenders. The debtors can be the government, corporations or citizens of that country. The debt includes money owed to private commercial banks, foreign governments, or international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. Note that the use of gross liability figures greatly distorts the ratio for countries which contain major money centers such as the United Kingdom due to London's role as a financial capital. Contrast with net international investment position.
A payday loan is a small, short-term unsecured loan with high interest rates.
Government debt, also known as public interest, public debt, national debt and sovereign debt, contrasts to the annual government budget deficit, which is a flow variable that equals the difference between government receipts and spending in a single year. The debt is a stock variable, measured at a specific point in time, and it is the accumulation of all prior deficits.
Household debt is defined as the combined debt of all people in a household. It includes consumer debt and mortgage loans. A significant rise in the level of this debt coincides historically with many severe economic crises and was a cause of the U.S. and subsequent European economic crises of 2007–2012. Several economists have argued that lowering this debt is essential to economic recovery in the U.S. and selected Eurozone countries.
Debt levels and flows are a measure of the levels of debt – how much debt is outstanding – and the flows of debt – how much the level of debt changes over time. This is basic macroeconomic data, and varies between countries. Debt is used to finance enterprises and business around the world. Within mainstream economics, levels and flows of public debt are a cause of concern, while levels and flows of private debt are not seen as being of central importance.
Credit is the trust which allows one party to provide money or resources to another party wherein the second party does not reimburse the first party immediately, but promises either to repay or return those resources at a later date. In other words, credit is a method of making reciprocity formal, legally enforceable, and extensible to a large group of unrelated people.
In economics, the debt-to-GDP ratio is the ratio between a country's government debt and its gross domestic product (GDP). A low debt-to-GDP ratio indicates an economy that produces and sells goods and services sufficient to pay back debts without incurring further debt. Geopolitical and economic considerations – including interest rates, war, recessions, and other variables – influence the borrowing practices of a nation and the choice to incur further debt. It should not be confused with a deficit-to-GDP ratio, which, for countries running budget deficits, measures a country's annual net fiscal loss in a given year as a percentage share of that country's GDP; for countries running budget surpluses, a surplus-to-GDP ratio measures a country's annual net fiscal gain as a share of that country's GDP.
Payment protection insurance (PPI), also known as credit insurance, credit protection insurance, or loan repayment insurance, is an insurance product that enables consumers to ensure repayment of credit if the borrower dies, becomes ill or disabled, loses a job, or faces other circumstances that may prevent them from earning income to service the debt. It is not to be confused with income protection insurance, which is not specific to a debt but covers any income. PPI was widely sold by banks and other credit providers as an add-on to the loan or overdraft product.
A title loan is a type of secured loan where borrowers can use their vehicle title as collateral. Borrowers who get title loans must allow a lender to place a lien on their car title, and temporarily surrender the hard copy of their vehicle title, in exchange for a loan amount. When the loan is repaid, the lien is removed and the car title is returned to its owner. If the borrower defaults on their payments then the lender is liable to repossess the vehicle and sell it to repay the borrowers’ outstanding debt.
The United States subprime mortgage crisis was a nationwide financial crisis which occurred between 2007 and 2010, and contributed to the U.S. financial crisis. It was triggered by a large decline in home prices after the collapse of a housing bubble, leading to mortgage delinquencies, foreclosures, and the devaluation of housing-related securities. Declines in residential investment preceded the Great Recession and were followed by reductions in household spending and then business investment. Spending reductions were more significant in areas with a combination of high household debt and larger housing price declines.
At the micro-economic level, deleveraging refers to the reduction of the leverage ratio, or the percentage of debt in the balance sheet of a single economic entity, such as a household or a firm. It is the opposite of leveraging, which is the practice of borrowing money to acquire assets and multiply gains and losses.
This article provides background information regarding the subprime mortgage crisis. It discusses subprime lending, foreclosures, risk types, and mechanisms through which various entities involved were affected by the crisis.
The consumer leverage ratio, a concept popularized by William Jarvis and Dr. Ian C MacMillan in a series of articles in the Harvard Business Review, is the ratio of total household debt, as reported by the Federal Reserve System, to disposable personal income, as reported by the US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. The ratio has been used in economic analysis and reporting and has been compared to other relevant economic variables since the 1970s.
The credit channel mechanism of monetary policy describes the theory that a central bank's policy changes affect the amount of credit that banks issue to firms and consumers for purchases, which in turn affects the real economy.
Credit agreements in South Africa are agreements or contracts in South Africa in terms of which payment or repayment by one party to another is deferred. This entry discusses the core elements of credit agreements as defined in the National Credit Act, and the consequences of concluding a credit agreement in South Africa.
A balance sheet recession is a type of economic recession that occurs when high levels of private sector debt cause individuals or companies to collectively focus on saving by paying down debt rather than spending or investing, causing economic growth to slow or decline. The term is attributed to economist Richard Koo and is related to the debt deflation concept described by economist Irving Fisher. Recent examples include Japan's recession that began in 1990 and the U.S. recession of 2007-2009.