Toxic Debt

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Toxic Debt'

Debt that has a lower chance of being repaid with interest. Toxic debt is toxic to the person or institution that will receive the payments.

This debt generally adheres to one of the following criteria: default rates for the particular debt are in the double digits, more debt is accumulated than what can comfortably be paid back, the interest rates of the obligation are subject to discretionary changes. Any debt could potentially be considered "toxic," if it imposes harm onto the financial position of the holder.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Toxic Debt'

Debt is not always bad, especially if you are the lender and the borrower is making the payments. If the payments on these loans stop coming in, or are expected to stop, the debt becomes known as toxic debt. The historical costs of toxic debt securities are higher than the current market price. This can often result from unjustified high credit ratings which implies that the risk of default on the security is much lower than fundamental analysis would suggest. Junk bonds are not classified as toxic debt upon purchase, because the buyer is aware of the underlying risk of these securities.

VIDEO

Loading the player...
RELATED TERMS
  1. Esoteric Debt

    Complex debt instruments with structures and pricing that are ...
  2. Toxic Assets

    An asset that becomes illiquid when its secondary market disappears. ...
  3. Junk Bond

    A colloquial term for a high-yield or non-investment grade bond. ...
  4. Subprime Mortgage

    A type of mortgage that is normally made out to borrowers with ...
  5. Credit Crisis

    A crisis that occurs when several financial institutions issue ...
  6. Default Risk

    The event in which companies or individuals will be unable to ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Where can I find year-to-date (YTD) returns for benchmarks?

    Benchmarks are securities or groups of securities against which investment performance is analyzed. Examples of popular equity ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the effective interest method of amortization?

    The effective interest method is an accounting practice used for discounting a bond. This method is used for bonds sold at ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Under what circumstances would someone enter into a repurchase agreement?

    In finance, a repurchase agreement represents a contract between two parties, where one party sells a security to the other ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are the major laws (acts) regulating financial institutions that were created ...

    Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, in conjunction with Congress, signed into law several major legislative responses ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the similarities and differences between the savings and loan (S&L) crisis ...

    The savings and loan crisis and the subprime mortgage crisis both began with banks creating new profit centers following ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What type of asset allocation should I use if I am already retired?

    Among investors, asset allocation is a topic of discussion that receives a great deal of weight during the asset accumulation ... Read Full Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Insurance

    CDOs And The Mortgage Market

    These structured products contribute to keeping borrowing rates low.
  2. Insurance

    Should You Buy Banks' "Toxic" Assets?

    The Public-Private Investment Progam is part of the government's effort to fix the failing financial sector. But is it a good investment?
  3. Active Trading

    What Would Full Disclosure Mean For The Market?

    In the wake accounting scandals, more people are calling for full disclosure. But what would that even help?
  4. Savings

    Explaining Term Deposits

    A term deposit (more often called a certificate of deposit or CD) is a deposit account that is made for a specific period of time.
  5. Economics

    What's a Maturity Date?

    Maturity date is the final date when any remaining principal and any unpaid interest are due on a debt.
  6. Professionals

    Worried About Stocks? Try on Convertibles

    Convertibles are a good hedge against equity market risk (if you're o.k. with losing a bit of upside potential).
  7. Stock Analysis

    Playing Rising Rates with Ultra-Short Term Bonds

    With rising rates likely, investors may want to consider adding a dose of ultra-short bonds to their portfolios. Here are some ETFs to consider.
  8. Professionals

    Why Investors Are Bailing on Bond ETFs

    Investors are fleeing bond ETFs. Should you follow the herd? Hint: It depends on the type of bond.
  9. Professionals

    Is a Bond Market Selloff Coming?

    A big investment management company is concerned about bond market conditions and allocating more capital to cash. Should you follow?
  10. Credit & Loans

    What is a Syndicated Loan?

    A syndicated loan is one that involves a group of lenders (called the syndicate) who pool their lending resources to make a loan.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Social Security

    A United States federal program of social insurance and benefits developed in 1935. The Social Security program's benefits ...
  2. American Dream

    The belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version ...
  3. Multicurrency Note Facility

    A credit facility that finances short- to medium-term Euro notes. Multicurrency note facilities are denominated in many currencies. ...
  4. National Currency

    The currency or legal tender issued by a nation's central bank or monetary authority. The national currency of a nation is ...
  5. Treasury Yield

    The return on investment, expressed as a percentage, on the debt obligations of the U.S. government. Treasuries are considered ...
  6. Bund

    A bond issued by Germany's federal government, or the German word for "bond." Bunds are the German equivalent of U.S. Treasury ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!