What is debt?

Debt is money you owe. Whether you took out a loan, used a credit card, or got behind on a bill payment, it’s debt. 

When debt feels like a barrier to your goals, it can be hard to face, but it’s important to remember that you’re not in it alone. 

These tools can help you take the first step 

You can: 

• Use them in any order. 

• Capture a picture of what you owe, decide which debts to pay first, or set new goals.

 • Use them to help get a handle on your payments and cut down on stress from growing debt.

 The small steps you choose to take can lead to significant changes. You can fix this; we can help.

Debt categories

Please click on the following link for a chart that lists the most common debt categories.

A step further- Debt Log

Start with one question: How much do you spend on monthly debt payments?

This tool will help you: 

  • See a complete picture of all your debt payments.  
  • Determine when you will pay off your debts with your current repayment plan.
  • Remember when all your debt payments are due.
  • Understand how much money you can put toward paying down debt faster.

What you’ll need:  

TIP: If a debt collector contacts you, use the Dealing with Debt Collectors tool or visit cfpb.gov/debt-collection.

If you need to get all the information you need to complete the debt log, these documents can help you fill in the blanks.

Credit report: 

  • The amount of your monthly payments
  • The balance (the amount you still owe)
  • Whether you are up-to-date or more than 30 days late
  • Your status includes owner, coowner, co-signer, or authorized user.

Credit card statement: 

  • Payment date
  • Minimum payment
  • Interest rate
  • Balance and payoff date if you continue to make minimum payments

Loan or mortgage agreement: 

  • Interest rate and fees
  • Payment date
  • Payoff date Court orders: § Payment amount § Due date § Any other terms

Billing statements: 

  • Past-due amounts
  • Late fees

Additional resources 

For information on your federal student loans, visit the National Student Loan Data System website at https://nsldsfap.ed.gov/.

Debt Log

The following link will take you to another tool to help you determine your debts and provide a complete picture of where you stand with your creditors.

What’s next?

Part 4 of our series titled “Your Money, Your Goals.”

Larry Marvin


LifeCrafter Money $ense


Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) www.cfpb.gov/your-money-your-goals