How to get out of debt
Rina Hicks, 43, is an investment banker, a finance coach and author
Debt management is the process of coming up with a clear plan to repay debt in a systematic manner so as to reduce the debt and pay it off as quickly as possible.
Debt management would also include trying to reduce your interest rates, for instance if you borrow using a credit card or a mobile app, you must have a plan to pay back the debt in such a way that you do not incur very high interests.
I find that people struggle with debt because they lack financial literacy education. Many are quick to sign up for opportunities without fully understanding what to look out for and what questions to ask, such as the terms and conditions of the loans that they get into, and this results in many not fully understanding what the total cost of their loan is.
Another reason is the fact that debt in Kenya is very expensive. So one gets locked in a perpetual state of debt, borrowing from one lender, to pay another and so on. This is a dangerous situation that robs many of peace, results in slavery, and prevents one from being able to build savings and to invest for their future.
Good debt is debt used for the purchase of an asset that has cash flows or brings in an income, or an asset that will increase in value and can be sold for a profit.
Nevertheless, when one takes debt, they must know exactly how they will repay the debt, even if the asset or opportunity they are borrowing for does not work out. Bad debt is debt borrowed without a plan, to finance consumption, or to lend to others. Bad debt is also debt that is borrowed simply because one qualifies for the loan.
If you have accumulated loans to a level that feels unmanageable, debt consolidation is an option that you should consider.
Debt consolidation rolls all the debts owed into one loan that can be taken from a financial institution and stretched over a longer payment period, resulting in lower monthly repayments.
For instance, you may have a mobile app loan from three different apps, a SACCO loan, credit card loan, and a few loans from family and friends. If you find that you are unable to sustain the monthly repayments and perhaps have even defaulted on one or some of the loans, it may be useful to consider speaking to a financial institution to take over the loans and give you a longer loan period.
However, you will need to demonstrate that you have cash flows sufficient to repay the loan and some institutions may ask for collateral (security) in order to consolidate your loans.
I advise that you speak to a credit expert who can understand your situation and assist you with the best solution given your circumstances.
In my view, couples that are in a healthy relationship must disclose to one another the assets and debt they have. When you put your heads together to face challenges that are before you, the burden is lighter, stress is less, and the solutions are easier to come by.
I advise couples to develop a joint debt management plan to get out of debt faster. I think it is a dangerous situation when one spouse takes charge of finances and the other is disinterested, this is dangerous.