What is Leveraged Debt? And Why You Need it Build Wealth

Aaron Jarrels
Broken Moon Media
Published in
9 min readApr 14, 2021

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credit, leveraged debt, debt, using debt, leveraging debt, debt guide, aaron jarrels
Photo by Avery Evans on Unsplash

My Quick Guide to Leveraging Debt

Whenever the term “debt” comes to your mind, you would consider it to bring in bad news. Indeed, no one likes to be swinging on the pendulum 24/7 and have the immense stress to pay someone’s debt in less time. Taking the debt comes as the only way many individuals afford to purchase big-ticket stuff such as cars and homes. While these loans are generally justifiable and add some value to the individual who is getting the debt, another end to the spectrum includes taking the debt with careless expenditure through a credit card.

While it is quite convenient to differentiate between the two extremes, deciding whether or not the debt is good or bad includes a much required more in-depth analysis for special situations. There are specific hints, such as your primary income source is offering your blood plasma. An accepted metric would be your debt-to-income ratio. As you take a look at your bills regularly, you might feel overwhelmed with all the money you will spend on the debt. Sometimes, the debt would feel like a trap that you would only want to get rid of. However, not all debt is regarded as bad debt.

As a lender sees your credit report for considering the types of accounts you own, they would look at some debts much more than others. If you are trying to focus on putting your way out of debt, you would first have to acknowledge which debts are regarded as good and which ones are considered as bad. This way, you would be better able to form priorities regarding your debts, so it is easier to get rid of the bad debts first. Let’s see what. the ways that will help you regarding paying off debts are

You need to add up all the monthly debt payments and then divide those payments by your monthly gross income for getting the debt-to-income total ratio. To cite, suppose you have a monthly mortgage of 1500 USD, a car payment of 200 USD, and pay 300 USD a month for your bills and credit cards; your monthly debt would total to 2000 USD.

If the gross monthly income totals 4000 USD, it would mean that your ratio for debt-to-income will be 50%. It would be quite stressful for you. Anything that goes over the ratio of 43% in the debt-to-income terminology is taken as a red flag for potential lenders. Proof suggests that the borrowers having a higher ratio are likely to have such problems while making the monthly payments. In many cases, you would not be able to get a mortgage if the ratio is more than 43%.

It is not that bad, as you would have guessed, the best form of debt — mortgages.

What is Bad Debt?

Bad debt is the expenditure for once the credit repayment that was previously extended is now perceived as uncollectible. It is a type of contingency that needs to be accounted for through all businesses that extend these credit types to the clients, as there lies an increased risk that the payments would not be received.

It is an unfortunate cost that comes with a default risk that is inherent to the extension of credit. This expense needs to be estimated utilizing the allowance method at the same time in which any purchase happens.

So, you can say, debts on boats, cars, and credit cards, for example, are all forms of bad debts. These debts are written off on individual and business tax returns.

What is Good Debt?

Good debt is the kind of debt utilized for paying for a thing having a long-term value. This would increase the net worth — for example, rent payments, real estate property — or helps you in generating a smart income.

Good debt includes some of the following things:

· House Mortgages

Home values might rise and fall for the time being, but in the long run, homes have proven to make suitable investments historically. According to the Census data, the median price of a house in the United States was 79000 USD in 1990 — and three decades later, this median price has doubled to 193000 USD. For many citizens, their home accounts in the bulk of the net worth, and the mortgage might help you get that nest egg.

· Business Loans

Getting the right loan for starting or expanding the business can be regarded as a wise investment tool. Whether or not the company gets a big spotlight, growing the industry can help you grow your income. Through careful planning, you can assist in making sure that borrowing in business is accounted as a calculated risk.

· Student Loans

Earning a degree from college would not guarantee that you would get the right job. However, there is a lot of research that shows it would boost your earning power with time. Median earnings of people holding a bachelor’s degree having full-time jobs are 24600 USD higher than the median earnings of graduates from high school with full-time jobs, as suggested through studies.

How Taking on Good Debt Makes you Money?

The principal methodology behind using the debt for investing positively is using the leverage for exponentially multiplying the returns. So, what is leverage in this manner? It is utilizing the borrowed money to increase your return on the investment. It would enable you to get the returns you considered were not attainable but at a bigger risk of losing any capital.

Here are the ways that the debt through using leverage might help you make money.

· Appreciation/Depreciation

Money gets appreciated when the value of a currency rises in comparison to the other. It does not work like the stock in which the appreciation in the value depends on the assessment of the intrinsic value market. In a typical sense, the forex trader would trade a currency pair considering the currency appreciation of the currency base against the counter currency.

· Tax Deferral

Saving up for retirement through making investments in a tax-deferred car or any other vehicle might give you a great saving for time — forgoing through the tax bite as you are on your way to growing money and potentially decreasing the tax impact.

· Cash Flow

Cash flow is regarded as the lifeblood for many businesses and individuals, and it is easy to assume the reason. Cash is what enables anyone to thrive financially — without having enough money coming through your doorstep, you would not be able to cover the expenses happening on a monthly basis or even considering expanding your business.

Should you Pay Off Bad Debt or Take on Good Debt First?

As a general rule of thumb, it is estimated that you would get out of your debt faster considering you start paying it off having the highest interest rate first and then work the way down from that standpoint. For instance, if you have balances on two credit cards, and one that is charging you 15% and the other is charging 20%, consider tackling the 20% one at first.

In the case of credit card debt, which is bad debt, you might also be given another option — transfer the balances to the card having a lower interest rate and then pay these off. Some of the balance transfer credit cards give promotional periods ranging from six to 18 months — as they charge 0% interest, which would help you in paying the balance down faster as you would not be incurring any extra interest.

Another option would be to take a debt consolidation loan from a lender or a bank. It works as you borrow sufficient money from the lender for paying off the other debts. Now, you are left with only one debt for worrying about, ideally through a lower interest rate rather than your previous debts. You are then able to use that extra money to begin paying the loan off.

If the cash you own would not begin making a dent in your debt, you might need to consider a more drastic measure. Firstly, if you have trouble making even the lowest monthly payments on credit card loans or some other loan types, you can contact your lender. Maybe you will get a reduction in your minimum payment or the debt interest rate.

How Much Good Debt Should You Have?

The short answer to this question would be to as much as you possibly can get without going for uncalculated risks. A good rule that is used for calculating a reasonable load for debt is the 28/36 rule. So, according to the rule, the households should be spending no more than a total of 28% of the gross income on expenses related to the home. It would include mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowner insurance, and POA fee, to be precise. The households should not be spending more than a maximum value of 36% on the total debt service, which includes housing expenses and other debts, including credit cards or car loans.

Suppose you are in a good position for zero credit card debt and have no other responsibilities. Also, you are thinking about getting a new car for yourself, you might think of taking a car loan that goes for 17500 USD — supposing the interest rate of about 5% on this loan that is repayable over the period of five years.

For summarizing things, at the income level of 50000 USD on an annual scale or 4167 USD per month, a considerable amount of the debt would be anything that goes below the maximum threshold of 188500 USD in the mortgage debt with an additional 17500 USD in the other debt — an example would be of a car loan.

You might need to note that financial institutions utilize the gross income for calculating debt ratios as the net income or take-home pay is varied from one jurisdiction to another one that is dependent on the income tax level and other deductions in the paycheck. Spending habits also need to be determined by the take-home pay as it is the amount that you would get in actuality after the deductions and the taxes.

So, stating the example give, if we assume that the deductions like the income tax reduce the gross income by a percentage of 25%, you get 37000 USD in total. It would mean that you can allocate 10500 USD for household-related debt and 250 USD to the other debt — a total amount of 1125 USD per month, to be precise.

Of course, these above debt loads are actually based on the current level of the interest rates that are recently at their lows. So, higher interest rates that come on mortgage debt, as well as personal loans, would minimize the amount of the debt served as the interest rates would take the larger chunk regarding the monthly loan amounts for repayment.

Now, good debt is gained through wise decision-making about the future time, not for the only aim to have some good debt. For instance, you might need to decide to get the Master’s degree to increase the total earning potential.

We would advise you to have a wise strategy for a debt payoff. It is considered a wise idea to pay off the bad debts first. This is because they might cost you more in the fees and the interest than the good debts and have little to no appreciable value. Therefore, you need to be paying off the credit cards as well as the auto loans too prior to tackling the student loans or mortgages, for example.

Final Thoughts

So, debt can be regarded as a financial advantage if it gets managed in a proper way. While the preference of an individual ultimately dictates the debt amount that they are comfortable having. Your own risk tolerance is a beneficial starting point for calculating your acceptable debt load. Be sure you keep to your budget, so things do not get out of hand. Try the 50 30 20 Budget for a great place to start. It will allow you to use a budget even if you have never used one before.

Be sure you are good with your money (using a budget) before you try using others’ money to pay off debts.

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Aaron Jarrels
Broken Moon Media
0 Followers

I am a licensed therapist and an industry-leading Motivation & Mindset Coach who specializes in helping leaders learn to motivate themselves and others easily.