Or, should I say, the three don’ts: Don’t get sick, don’t get divorced, don’t go to school. Okay, okay, maybe not going to school is a little extreme and I truly believe an education offers choices in life. So, go to school, just be smart about how much student loan debt you take on. However, getting sick is one very real reason people sink ┬áinto debt. Having good health insurance can off-set some of the cost, but it’s always a good idea to have some cash stashed away for medical emergencies.

Divorce can also take you to the cleaners. In a perfect world, each and every person would meet their true love and live happily ever after. Welcome to reality: according to statistics half of the population does not achieve this.

Finally, find ways to get an education without digging yourself a hole: choose less expensive options (junior colleges are a great choice for the gen ed courses), apply for grants and scholarships, work a side job, enlist in the military (not for everyone, but the GI bill does cover expenses), choose a major that will pay off in the end.

Here’s an infographic that visually shows these three major money suckers:

Causes of debt

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.


  1. I’ve reviewed hundreds of credit reports. And this agrees totally with what I see. It’s pretty rare, at least among the potential home buyers I work with, to see people who just screwed up their credit by being irresponsible.

  2. krantcents Reply

    I avoid debt except for a mortgage. The interest rates are just too high to make it worthwhile.

  3. Stu @ Poor Student Reply

    So many students end up in serious debt. IN Canada we dont really end up in medical debt unless we get hurt across the border, but debt is rampant here, too.

    • @Stu – I think part of the problem is credit is too readily available and personal finance isn’t formally taught in schools (at least not in our area). There’s a gap between knowledge and availability.

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