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DEFINITION of 'Consumer Debt'

Debts that are owed as a result of purchasing goods that are consumable and/or do not appreciate. Possessing high levels of consumer debt is not typically beneficial for the average individual because it increases the strain on one's sources of income to maintain regular payments. If not managed well, consumer debt can lead to bankruptcy.

BREAKING DOWN 'Consumer Debt'

Possessing some consumer debt can be beneficial under certain circumstances, such as debt accrued to buy something that will boost an individual's earning power. For example, financing a car might be a wise idea if the owner needs it to travel to work at a higher-paying job.

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