Not buying things you don’t have the money for might seem like Personal Finance 101, but our modern world often depends on taking on debt. At some point in life, most people take out a loan, whether it be for a small business, college, or a new home. Debt can be a force for good as long as you pay it back reliably, raising your credit score.

There is however, a dark side to debt. Sometimes, you have to take on debt unexpectedly for situations outside of your control, and that can quickly escalate if you aren’t prepared. Worse, there are people who prey on others’ debt for their own profit. You don’t want to fall prey to this side of debt, but it can be difficult to know where the line is. Educate yourself on how to responsibly take on new debt and pay off existing accounts.

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