What is Debt: Definition and 67 Discussions

Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money or other agreed-upon value to another party, the creditor. Debt is a deferred payment, or series of payments, which differentiates it from an immediate purchase. The debt may be owed by sovereign state or country, local government, company, or an individual. Commercial debt is generally subject to contractual terms regarding the amount and timing of repayments of principal and interest. loans, bonds, notes, and mortgages are all types of debt. In financial accounting, debt is a type of financial transaction, as distinct from equity.
The term can also be used metaphorically to cover moral obligations and other interactions not based on a monetary value. For example, in Western cultures, a person who has been helped by a second person is sometimes said to owe a "debt of gratitude" to the second person.

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  1. kyphysics

    Fighting for Financial Relief: Surviving COVID Debt

    First They Faced the Virus. Now Come the Medical Bills. https://www.yahoo.com/news/first-faced-virus-now-come-120944607.html Saw this article today. From the wording/descriptions in the article, it's not clear to me whether health providers can legally claim part of the estate of a deceased...
  2. P

    Has the market corrupted the goal of education?

    Forgive my rather philosophical posted question; but, having been in college for little more than a year, I can't but help to feel that what was once considered a noble goal of 'conditioning the soul' (as Plato might say) via education has instead been turned into the gratification of wants and...
  3. paulmdrdo

    Algebra word problem -- Paying down a debt....

    Homework Statement Homework Equations I can't start because I did not understand the statement in red underline. Please explain to me first. Then I may be able to solve it. Sorry english is not my first language. Hope you would understand. Thank you! The Attempt at a Solution
  4. X

    Programs Oxford DPhil (Mathematics) -- Worth the debt?

    Hi guys! I applied to a DPhil program on PDEs at the University of Oxford and recently got an offer without funding. I would love to attend this program, but as you may know, the tuition fees for international students are really high. My government could help me with 2/3 of the tuition + a (not...
  5. Ritzycat

    Student Debt, feasibility & plan to repay

    I'll be starting my undergrad this fall. As of now I will probably start majoring in physics. Nonetheless I expect to stay within the area of science. If I've done the math right I'll probably have 43K in debt. Of that 43k, 8k is federal unsubsidized loans with 4.29% interest rate, (will...
  6. O

    Undergrad in Germany or $152,000 in the US?

    Hello and other pleasantries Physics forum fellows, I have an interesting dilemma that hopefully your experience could help me solve. I am a recently graduated International Baccalaureate student and I now have the choice to face either $152,000 of debt at the University of Illinois Urbana...
  7. Square1

    How does the cost of debt formula account for tax deductions?

    Hi, There is a cost of debt formula that goes c = ib(1-T), where c is the cost of issuing debt that firm incurs ( a percentage like interest) i is the interest earned by the investor, and T is the tax rate a firm pays. The key is that the interest rate alone is not really the cost of taking on...
  8. S

    Why is America in debt and how can we fix it?

    I've been researching and I am somewhat intrigued by the reasons that I have found. But in all honesty I have little to no idea as to why we are in such a debt. I mean most people would say "Cut the spending" but from what many people tell me, you keep your economy stable by continuing with...
  9. A

    News Should 3rd World debt be written off

    The G8 countries are meeting shortly in Scotland. High on the agenda will be world poverty and 3rd world debt. It is estimated 19,000 African children die every day as a direct result of poverty whilst their governments are forced to find $37 million a day for debt servicing. My own vote...
  10. Ivan Seeking

    News Who profits from the US national debt?

    Who makes all of that interest? Why do Republicans always seem to favor deficit spending?
  11. B

    News Federal Government Debt Over 7 Trillion

    FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DEBT = $24,470.04 PER PERSON, and rising. This means a family of four (4) shares more than $93,080 in federal debt responsibility - - including those still in diapers.The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.73 billion per day since September 30, 2003...
  12. B

    News Federal Government Debt Over 7 Trillion

    FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DEBT = $24,470.04 PER PERSON, and rising. This means a family of four (4) shares more than $93,080 in federal debt responsibility - - including those still in diapers. The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.73 billion per day since September 30, 2003...
  13. H

    Engineering Taking on 120k of debt for engineering school EE or Aero worth it?

    Hey guys I've gotten accepted into RIT Rochester Institute of Technology for electrical engineering and Embry Riddle for Aerospace engineering. I'm a non traditional student aged 28 with a BA in Econ who always had a passion for engineering. I am still making up my mind between EE or Aero. I...
  14. B

    News How Does National Debt Affect Economic Recessions?

    Could someone familiar with the technical definitions of debt and deficit explain Obama's statement that the debt has been reduced by 50% (may not be remembering this accurately). How is debt reduced when the national debt has increased to over 17 trillion dollars? And what is the distinction...
  15. K

    News Fiscal cliff, debt ceiling and research funding

    Will the recent economic pressure in the US result in funding cuts of the research in the US universities? Let's debate.
  16. StevieTNZ

    News What is the US Debt Limit Ceiling?

    I've heard this many times - but don't really understand a lot about it. Is it a limit from borrowing from all potential sources, or a select few? Wikipedia says the Govt. can borrow from the Treasury. I gather investors will buy shares in what the Govt. borrows, so they get a pay-out? Where...
  17. G

    Schools Realistic debt from physics grad school?

    I have done some research to find out how much it would cost to go to grad school and I am a bit confused about my findings. I have seen from multiple sources that by being a TA or an RA I will actually make money in grad school. (enough to live on while I study) I have also seen that I can...
  18. Jim Kata

    Debt Based Money: Can Money Exist Without Debt?

    Can money exist without debt? Or is the whole point of money to put people into debt? For example, to my naive understanding when the government wants to create money they have to sell debt, interest bearing treasury bonds. How can the government get out of debt if they have to create more...
  19. R

    Calculating credit card debt using a geometric series

    A man gets a credit card and buys something that charges exactly 800 dollars to the card. The APR on the card is 18 % compounded monthly, and the minimum payment is 15 dollars a month. What is the expression for A(n), the balance on the card after n months? (This should be a geometric series)...
  20. PhizKid

    Programs Debt vs. Longer time to get degree

    When I first went to college out of high school, I didn't really know about the admissions process and my (sort of controlling) mom pushed me to go to this Christian college so not really knowing better on top of without having any friends to ask for help and my guidance counselor not being very...
  21. W

    News The 1% Solution to the National Debt

    As the national debt in the US approaches $16,400,000,000,000 - we approach the 2012 election season - with the talk of fairness and 1% vs 99% in the air - I realized a solution is at hand when combining all of these ingredients. The national debt of $16.4 Trillion divided by (approx) 35,000...
  22. F

    What is a reasonable amount of debt to go into for undergrad.

    For someone planning on going on to 4 years of grad school.
  23. M

    Paying off College Debt | Is It Possible?

    Hi, I'm applying to college for (hopeful!) entry next year. I know of a particular school that I could get into with relative ease *but* it doesn't offer any financial aid. However, out-of-state students pay the same price as those who are in-state if they do some community work, which means...
  24. O

    News Is the US National Debt Reaching a Dangerous Tipping Point?

    As of yesterday our National Debt surpassed our GDP. Comments? Those opposed to a balanced budget amendment must know that this symbolic landmark puts us on track to a place we can not recover from. We need to end deficit spending until our Debt is below 35% of GDP and we need an...
  25. J

    Greek Debt Write-Off (AKA Default)

    I’m having a little trouble understanding this current Greek Debt deals. From what I understand Sustainable debt levels (when quantitative easing is not allowed) are deemed to be 120% of GDP for a country. Greece’s current debt to GDP is 150% GDP and they plan to reach sustainable levels of...
  26. 3

    Low tier + no debt or top tier + loans?

    Hey everybody! First post here, love the forum/site. I'm seeking some college advice. I live in North Carolina, and have been accepted into Western Carolina and NC State for electrical engineering. I'm trying to figure out which to attend. WCU was only my backup school (close to my house)...
  27. J

    Which US Debt Graph Represents the True Economic Picture?

    This two graphs look vastly different. Which one is correct? Wikipedia suggests the second graph is the correct one although the first graph might not cover the same time span. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt It looks like the first graph is using total...
  28. M

    News How much does the national debt cost us?

    I would like to know how much of my tax dollar goes towards paying interest on the national debt. Specifically, I suspect that my taxes would go down significantly if we had no debt or interest to pay on it and I would like to know how much. Everyone talks about lowering taxes yet not one...
  29. N

    Is Pursuing Higher Education Worth the Debt for Immigrant Families in Canada?

    hi guys, I am turning gr 12 and i wish to attend university of toronto for Physics program in 2012 Few moments ago, i just remembered about estimating my OSAP loans it turns out I can get around 11,000 per year and in an ideal case I need to pay back 7300 dollars The thing is, if this keeps...
  30. Loren Booda

    News Diplomatic resolution of U.S. - China proprietary debt

    The U.S. owes China around 2 trillion dollars. How might patent violations and industrial espionage by China (and the U.S.) figure in modifying this debt? In that regard it seems to me that China is undermining the U.S. economy by being the stealthiest of thieves. Can the debt be further...
  31. L

    News What Happens If the US Hits the Debt Ceiling?

    I thought it might be helpful to explain the whole debt ceiling issue. The US government takes in a certain amount in taxes, and then pays out a much higher amount in spending. To pay for the difference, it takes out loans, AKA Treasury bonds, from investors and foreign countries. Like any...
  32. W

    News Are we there yet? YES - US Debt Limit is Reached

    We've waited for months and now the day has arrived. The US debt has reached the $14.294 Trillion limit today. The US credit card has been maxed out! http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703421204576325583050561022.html Beyond the logistics of moving money around - now what...
  33. K

    News What is the real reason the US is in so much debt?

    I would like to talk economics. One thing that is clear to me, at least historically, is that our deficit problem transcends political party. We have been running a deficit (often increasing deficit) through generations of different political rule. Please keep the political finger-pointing...
  34. M

    Studying Will studying math and physics leave me with insurmountable loan debts?

    I've heard stories about people who have loan debts of at least $100.000. I'm going to study mathematics in about 1 and a half years and I'm eventually planning to obtain a Ph.D. I don't know exactly how expensive this is all going to be, but with my capital and the restricted financial support...
  35. A

    News Why Does The Fed Hide How Much Debt They Own?

    If you ever look up "Ownership of US Debt", notice in almost every place you look you only see foreign ownership of debt. What about DOMESTIC ownership of debt? There is only one place online that tracks that and that's a CNBC article that disturbingly reveals the Fed itself holds 6x as much...
  36. B

    Is Our Debt Exceeding Our Wealth?

    Is there more debt then money?
  37. mheslep

    News Will a failure to raise the US debt ceiling force a default?

    As it happens the legislative branches of the US government have long established a periodic legal limit on the Treasury's ability to raise revenue by issuing debt. I'm told such a limit is somewhat unusual as nations go, but there we are. This year the US Treasury predicts that the current...
  38. Monique

    News Is the Ballooning US Debt a Threat to Our Future Economic Situation?

    The US keeps printing extra dollars, but what are the actions being taken to reduce the nation's debts? Alan Greenspan warns that the ballooning debt levels could lead to another crisis at the bond market. Together with the simmering race to weaken national currencies makes me very worried about...
  39. K

    Does the U.S. debt really stand at 200 trillion $?

    Yeah, I was wondering where the 200 trillion $ figure comes from.
  40. K

    Is a High-Cost Undergraduate Degree Worth the Debt for Aspiring Scientists?

    Hi, I was wondering if anyone went or transfer to a university and ended up "knee-deep" debt. I wanted to ask this because the university I'm trying to get into is very expensive, but I love everything else about the university. BTW, I'm an out of state student transferring to the University of...
  41. C

    Student Loan Debt: Is It Worth It to Go to a Better School?

    Post is kinda lengthy, thanks for reading though. For starters, I'm from las vegas, so i could go to university there, however, i will be attendting the u of minnesota-twin cities, which is a very good school for physics. If I go to university in las vegas than when i receive my bachelors...
  42. J

    Money, Debt, Value: Leveraging Commodities to Manage Economy

    Money is both a measure of value and an IOU for your input into the economy. Sometimes money is considered a store of value but value is subjective based on our personal tastes which are based upon our means. Money is often created in the form of debt by either governments or banks borrowing...
  43. Hepth

    Schools Financing Debt while in Graduate School/ FAFSA

    Assume a student such as myself (3rd year PhD) has an RA stipend for graduate school (tuition is paid + some stipend). The stipend is rather small, but technically survivable. Unfortunately I have some debt acquired while an undergraduate, mainly credit card. I have no student loans and have...
  44. B

    How much debt can I hope to pay off?

    Hi, I need help in making a (big) decision. I've been accepted to a small top-tier Liberal Arts college in the USA (I'm not a domestic student) and intend to major in Physics there. I am very confident of my academic skills, especially in Physics (let's do away with modesty for a while, because...
  45. D

    News Is President Obama solely to blame for our increasing national debt?

    Debt limit Vote... The House of Representatives will vote on increasing the nation’s debt limit. Presumably, this will spur conservatives and deficit peacocks to claim that the President Obama has gone on some kind of spending binge and has run up tons and tons of new debt. Despite these...
  46. Astronuc

    News Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won

    This probably fits under "What is wrong with the US Economy", but . . . . http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/24/banks-bundled-bad-debt-bet-against-it-and-won/ A lot of questionable (read that high risk) debt was rated as AAA, when in fact it warranted 'junk bond' status or...
  47. D

    News Who is Responsible for the US National Debt and How Can it Be Addressed?

    Is it perpetual? I think it will continue to be very large because the US is top dog. How many nations are likely to ask the US for their money back, and what could they possibly do to warrant the US to pay up? People seem to like our money, so why not share?
  48. J

    Erase Credit Debt: Is It Really That Easy?

    We've all heard the advertisements that claim they can get rid of your credit debt if it's 10,000 or more...and I know a few friends-of-friends who supposedly had massive credit debt that was just erased. Is there really an established procedure for this? Is it that easy to rip off the...
  49. K

    Dealing with 100K College Debt: Advice & Tips

    Hey, so I've been using the financial aid calculators online to see how much the interest will rack up to once I graduate college. I'm finding that I'll be owing near 100000 dollars for loans that I'll have to take out. The monthly payment will be about 800 dollars a month. Has anyone...
  50. S

    News Is the National Debt Really Driven at 174 Miles Per Hour by Obama?

    This YouTube clip analogously talks about the rate at which US Presidents increase the national debt in terms of miles per hour when driving a car. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie"...