How Consumer Credit and Debt Work

ebook Real World Economics

By Laura La Bella

cover image of How Consumer Credit and Debt Work

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In the popular mind, the Great Recession was caused by misguided investment banking practices, a burst real estate bubble, and plummeting housing values. All of this is accurate, yet it fails to highlight another underlying, insidious cause of the economic collapse—consumer credit and debt. In the years running up to the recession, consumers were encouraged by the government to spend their money for the good of the economy. The value of saving was de-emphasized, as credit card companies and banks made access to credit easier and easier. As a result, people who were not truly able to afford big purchases were nevertheless taking out loans and wracking up huge credit card bills to buy cars, boats, homes, and even second homes. Eventually, the bills came due, and Americans were suddenly in massive debt, owing huge sums of money on devalued properties, defaulting on loans, losing their credit ratings, having their homes foreclosed on and their possessions repossessed. Readers will review the nightmare scenario that resulted in the Great Recession and prolonged the agony of it. Most importantly, the mechanisms of consumer credit and debt, its pitfalls, and smart ways to manage credit and debt effectively in order to make it work for you, not against you are explained. Readers are encouraged to participate in discussion and learn how they can avoid debt with 10 Great Questions to Ask an Economics/Finance teacher and Myths & Facts.

How Consumer Credit and Debt Work