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5 ways you can change your approach to debt

The word ‘debt’ has all sorts of connotations in contemporary America. In previous decades, debt was viewed as a wholly negative idea and some of this legacy unfortunately still remains.

Yet debt can be a way of negotiating life and if handled in the right way, can actually have many positive aspects. It can allow you experiences that may otherwise be unavailable to you.

There are different types of debt and many ways to deal with it in a responsible way, such as regular repayment to creditors and taking advantage of balance transfers when applicable.

Here are five key ways of changing your approach to debt that will help you understand debt and feel more empowered in decision making around money, loans, balance transfers and debt in general.

1. Appreciate the difference between positive and negative debt. Positive debt tends to be associated with long-term goals or commitments that will enhance your life or provide security.

Negative debt, on the other hand, tends to be associated with items for short-term pleasure and instant gratification that will affect your life for just a short period.

2. Realize that almost everyone in the United States has some level of debt and so you are in good company. Unless you are from a wealthy background, you will need to borrow money at some point in your life.

You may be surprised at some of the people you know who also have debts. Remember, even daily living can be expensive and most people need a helping hand with finance.

3. Two of the main reasons for borrowing money include paying for a house and for your education. These are long-term investments that will add value to your life, so the debt is a positive one.

Think about the purpose of the money you are borrowing. Having a College degree is almost essential when it comes to getting a well-paid job, so incurring debt for this reason is very different to simply using it for frivolous purposes.

4. Research different finance options when purchasing a car. Choose a reliable, but not necessarily top-of-the-range, model so that you can manage repayments without any problems.

Keep organized records of your finances and repay each statement on time. If you use credit cards, take advantage of lower or 0% interest rates on balance transfers.

5. Remember that actually having debt can work in your favor when applying for a mortgage or other type of financial product. Managing debt can show you are a reliable consumer and this will make it easier for you to get credit.

Most people are surprised that they can be turned down for credit on the basis that they have never borrowed money. Being able to show a record of responsible borrowing can give you access to better financial products.

Changing your approach to debt can allow you to access opportunities that otherwise will pass you by. An education or a home is hard to fund without financial help.

Stick to the golden rule of borrowing for long-term benefits rather than simply to pay for the latest trendy gadgets. Make regular repayments, keep records and allow positive debt to help you achieve your goals.