A little debt and some dark chocolate isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
We’ll get to the dark chocolate in a bit, but let’s start with debt.
The average student loan balance was $37,172 for 2016 graduates. Now for the good news: There’s a good chance that five-figure deficit will pay off in the form of a better job and higher salary than someone without a college degree.
“Economists are not certain about many things,” Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen told students at the University of Baltimore. “But we are quite certain that a college diploma or an advanced degree is key to economic success.”
If you’re like me, you’ve often been told to be careful with credit cards and avoid spending money you don’t have. But there’s always exceptions to the rule. “Good debt” isn’t just a myth. Student loans fall into this category, along with mortgage loans that help homeowners build equity. And if you pay off your credit card balances each month, you’re improving your credit score and possibly earning rewards or small cash-back rebates.
But the “bad debt” is also lurking. No interest for 12 months sounds great until you have a $4,000 balance 13 months later. For households carrying revolving credit card debt, the average balance was $16,048 in 2016.
Side effects of debt
In addition to being costly, bad debt can be stressful. Research shows stress leads to side effects such as headaches, chest pains, and, insomnia. Stress also can prompt behaviors that increase the risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
We often cope with stress by eating comfort foods high in cholesterol (think burgers, fried chicken, ice cream, and mac and cheese). This stress-relieving behavior might comfort us temporarily, but it can cause heart problems. Now for the good news (again): Like debt, there’s a good side and a bad side to cholesterol.
Dark chocolate for the win
All foods have two types of cholesterol.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is known as “bad” cholesterol because of its ability to clog arteries. HDL cholesterol can help protect against heart attacks and stroke, the AHA says, because it helps remove LDL from your system. HDL can be found in fish, orange juice, avocados, legumes, and dark chocolate (told you we’d come back to it).
So be mindful about the foods you eat and the type of debt you carry. After all, a little of each isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Disagree? Let us know how you create good habits related to debt, stress, and healthy eating.
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