“Your giant, your obstacle, your problem is a gateway to your significance and promotion

Rick Godwin

There are two kinds of people, those who earn interest and others who pay it, unfortunately those who pay it, do not understand the value of it, because they are ignorant

Albert Einstein

My description of Debt can be briefly broken down as “squeezing, draining and sucking up your wealth; stealing from yourself, from your future (sacrificial lamb) and that of your loved ones” just by making a few seconds quick decision today, for a short-term gain, so tread carefully before taking on debt. 

Do you know how much it costs to borrow money from a financial institution, furthermore how much it costs you to maintain the debt for the period specified especially when interest rates increases?

There are two kinds of people, those who earn interest and others who pay it, unfortunately, those who pay it, do not understand the value of it, because they are ignorant. Are you also aware that debt steals away from you and your family’s future?

Debt is an agreement (arrangement) contract entered into by a consumer and financial institutions such as banks or credit providers or microlenders in order for the consumer to receive funds that must be repaid within a stipulated date, which is usually accompanied by a charge (initiation fee, administration fee, interest).

These paybacks are arranged via debit order (bank account) or cash payment or salary deduction.

Entering & signing a debt consolidation loan
Be careful before signing the Debt Agreement, check the fine print

Understanding the Types of Debt

Secured debt: it is where the creditor guarantees that the asset will be paid back unless you use an asset you own as a guarantee called alien; if the consumer does not pay, then the creditor can take the asset away.

Unsecured debt: this is where the consumer takes out credit by simply giving an oath(promise) or word that the consumer will pay back what has been lent out by the creditor.

Healthy debt: The keyword is AFFORDABILITY, so if the consumer can afford and pay it and where it can enhance(improve) one’s situation(financial or life) then it is healthy debt, e.g. education loan to study further, home loan (asset increase in value and also provide shelter).

Unhealthy debt: this is the debt that is taken to worsen the financial situation or live beyond one’s means or so negative that the consumer cannot pay it and it lowers credit score or when the consumer borrows from unregistered unregulated microlenders who charge a large amount of interest.

Be aware before one takes on debt, shop around that one does a comparison among financial institutions to see who charges more or less interest (cost) in line with one’s needs for the loan (credit). Most of these institutions have a loan calculator.

Be careful again to stick to the amount you need and not be tempted by loan consultants who want to sell you more than what you need, as it has an effect on your repayment of that loan and interest implications.

Take to heart the cost to maintain that debt for the period specified, as you imagine interest rates (cost) go up and down, so if it goes up will the consumer be able to keep up (maintain) the repayments?

Before taking up that credit card or personal loan, have you exhausted all avenues (researched the meeting of your needs), for example, can the consumer not perhaps delay the purchase or save and buy later or use their own savings to purchase the items, as this may save the consumer exorbitant interest rates, so taking out a loan should be the last resort.

Nowadays, we also have a Lay- By where one pays a 10% deposit of the original amount and pay the remainder in installments until paid in full; the good news is that it does not attract any interest and this was used by our grandparents (ancestors) who did not earn so much money at the time and they survived and they were neither in debt nor they were over-indebted; they were very disciplined in handling debt.

Do you understand what and how much it costs you to borrow (do the calculations on personal loans, overdrafts, credit cards, housing, and cars)

On successful application, a lender or credit provider will grant you credit or a loan which must be paid back over the period of time agreed upon and with interest for holding that money in use.

Always choose a loan repayment (installment) that suits you and your pocket (affordability), your needs, and choose a period that will suit your financial situation.

Bearing in mind that the monthly repayments will have statutory value on them such as a compulsory sign-on administration fee, credit life which varies from various financial institutions, and the size of the debt and initiation fee.

These fees tend to increase the original amount of the loan you had chosen or requested initially.

Do this quick debt test before you sign up

  1. Have you shopped around to get the best deal?
  2. Am I borrowing this money as cheaply as possible?
  3. Will I be able to cope should interest rates rise in the future?
  4. Will I comfortably be able to afford the monthly repayments?
  5. Do I understand all the terms and conditions associated with borrowing this money?
  6. Do I understand the risks and what could happen if things go wrong?

** If any of the answers are “NO” then the debt is likely unhealthy

Let us use a table as an example to explain how it works and this depends on your credit profile, prevailing rates, and personal circumstances:

How much does a loan actually cost you? Let us take an R4000,00 loan:

Total repayments over 2 years (24 months) = R285 per month X 24 = R6 840.

Total interest over 2 years = R2840 (R6840 – R4000)

Total repayments over 3 years(36 months) = R223 per month X 36 = R8 028.

Total interest over 3 years = R4028 (R8028 – R4000)

Total repayments over 5 years(60 months) = R1173 per month X 60 = R10 380

Total interest over 5 years = R 6380 (R10380 – R4000)

Let us look at when you take out an R10,000 loan:

Total repayments over 2 years(24 months) = R667 per month X 24 = R16 008.

Total interest over 2 years = R6008(R16,008 – R10,000)

Total repayments over 3 years (36 months) = R510 per month X 36 = R18,360.

Total interest over 3 years = R8360(R18,360 – R10,000)

Total repayments over 5 years (60 months) = R387 per month X 60 = R23,220

Total interest over 5 years (60 months) = R13,220(R23,220 – R10,000)

If you borrowed R25,000 loan, what would it cost you:

Total repayments over 2 years(24 months) = R1580 per month X 24 = R37,920.

Total interest over 2 years = R12,920 (R37,920 – R25,000)

Total repayments over 3 years (36 months) = R1272 per month X 36 = R45,792.

Total interest over 3 years = R20,792 (R45, 792 – R 25,000)

Total repayments over 5 years(60 months) = R873 per month X 60 =R52,380

Total interest over 5 years = R27380 (R52, 380 – R25,000)

What do you notice?

When you calculate the total interest charged, a picture begins to emerge where it becomes clear how much interest is being charged.

It is clear from this table that it is better to repay loans over a shorter period and although the monthly installments seem cheaper if you take out a loan over a longer period; the total amount paid is more than twice the amount of the loan initially taken out.

The lender does not specify the interest rate; if they had told you, you would not have taken out the loan in the first place or you would have had to think it over (sleepover it thus delaying taking out the loan);

They are kind of hoping that you will remain ignorant and not do the calculations – Please be warned, read the fine (small) print as it never states the actual rates used and it all depends on your personal circumstances.

There is always a warning that the rates are subject to change, so you may find yourself paying higher monthly installments if rates were to increase without you knowing. 

There are also other costs to consider such as initiation fee, sign-on administration fee, and credit life insurance (e.g. short-term insurance on a car purchase price) which may be low, but over time may add up, which will definitely increase the size of the loan you originally negotiated or requested.

Stay vigilant – The “other” costs keep adding up over time

The South African National Credit Regulator (NCR) came into effect back in June 2007 to put in place:

Rules and regulations for consumers and credit providers

Credit Providers request credit agencies such as credit bureaus for a consumer’s credit report so that they can offer credit based on the consumer’s valid, accurate and correct credit historical behavior as reflected on the credit report (it is also the consumer’s primary responsibility to ensure that their own credit records are accurate and valid).

You can also read this blog post on Understanding and protecting your credit score (credit rating) if you would like to explore taking on debt responsibly.

The Act also limits credit providers from offering loans or credit that the consumer cannot afford(reckless lending)

The Act also sets limits on the interest rates the credit providers can charge so that consumers can be protected and avoid being taken advantage of.   

Thank you for reading the article, if you found this post intriguing or interesting, please leave your comment below and we will certainly engage with you. Thank you once again for gracing us with your presence.