Loans and credit facilities can help you with emergency funds in case of a financial contingency. Some loans can even be crucial to achieving major life goals like higher education or owning a home. However, if you’re not careful about the credit facilities you avail of, you may find yourself unable to repay your loans and dues. This could lead to a debt trap.
To escape a debt trap and avoid falling into this situation again, it’s important to understand the meaning of a debt trap and why it’s a significant disadvantage to your financial stability.
A debt trap is a financial situation in which you are unable to repay your existing debts and loans. This eventually pushes you to borrow more money to repay your current liabilities, thereby bringing on additional debts. Due to financial constraints, you may be unable to repay the new loans as well, leading to a vicious cycle of debt that is hard to escape.
Individuals and companies may find themselves in debt traps due to various reasons. If you run a business or if you already have several loans, you need to better understand the common triggers for debt traps. This way, you can avoid falling into a situation where it’s challenging to pay off your loans. The common reasons for a debt trap include the following:
If you have a tendency to overspend, you may eventually find yourself in a position where you need to borrow money to maintain a certain lifestyle. This is never a good idea, because loans and credit facilities are best availed of only for emergencies or for meeting major life goals.
High-interest credit facilities like credit cards can be beneficial if you use them well. However, if you fall behind on your repayments frequently, the high cost of debt could add up to large amounts, leading to a debt trap.
Poor financial planning is one of the most common reasons behind debt traps. If you do not follow a strict budget or if you avail of loans for every major personal expense, you’ll find it harder to repay the money as the debts pile on.
It’s also possible to fall into a debt trap due to unforeseen financial contingencies like a medical emergency in the family or a job loss. However, if you have an emergency fund in place, you can navigate these crises without resorting to debt.
In case you find yourself in a debt trap, the following strategies may help you escape the situation and turn it around for the better.
Identify the most expensive loans and credit facilities in your portfolio and prioritise paying them off. This will help you cut down on the interest costs and prevent them from adding up over time. Some common examples of high-interest debts include credit cards and unsecured loans.
Debt consolidation is the process of taking out a new loan to repay your existing debts. This method is only effective if the terms of the new loan are more favourable to your financial situation. Ideally, the new loan should be more affordable than the old loans.
If you are unable to repay your debts even after consolidating them, you may have to look for additional sources of income to meet your financial obligations. Take on a part-time job or tap into any sources of passive income that you may have, like a rental property.
Loan balance transfers involve transferring your existing debts from your current lender to a new lender. This transfer facility is also available for credit card balances. By opting for a balance transfer, you may get the benefit of lower interest rates or flexible repayment terms.
5. Seek Professional Help
You can seek expert guidance from professional debt counselling agencies that offer advisory services and assistance on a case-to-case basis. These agencies can help you assess your financial capability and create a repayment plan to escape the debt trap you’re in.
This sums up the meaning of a debt trap which is, in essence, a common financial problem. However, you can avoid it easily if you have the right strategies. In case you are already in a debt trap, you can make use of the techniques outlined above to turn the tide and improve your financial situation.
If you successfully avoid or escape a debt trap, your credit score will eventually improve. This, in turn, can make you eligible for instant pre-approved loans. Fi Money, in partnership with Federal Bank and LiquiLoans, provides Instant Loans that arrive directly in your Savings Account. These are pre-approved personal loans made available to select users with good credit scores. On Fi, this process is 100% paperless, and the loans are provided at competitive interest rates starting at less than 1% a month.
A debt trap is a financial situation where an individual or an entity is unable to repay their debts. It typically occurs because borrowers avail of loans or credit facilities beyond their repayment capacity.
Common signs of a debt trap include using loans to pay for daily expenses, barely making the minimum payment due on credit cards and borrowing money to pay for existing debts. By looking for these patterns or signs, it’s possible to recognise a debt trap.
To get rid of a debt trap, individuals can rely on strategies like practising a strict budget, prioritising high-interest debt and opting for debt consolidation if possible.
Yes, professional debt management services and credit counselling services may help people escape a debt trap. The effectiveness of these solutions varies based on the credentials and experience of the service provider.
To avoid debt traps, have a budget and stick to it, save up regularly and avoid borrowing money unnecessarily or beyond your repayment capacity.