Brief History of Debt And What You Can Do About It

Credit has been around for an estimated 5,000 years and it lies at the heart of human activity. Debt is one of the oldest means of trade, maybe even older than currency according to a new theory from David Graeber, author of Debt: The First 5000 Years.

It’s one of the foundations on which human societies have developed, and it helped define human and institutional relationships deep in the past. How did credit come to exist the way it does today, with credit cards, loans of all kinds, mortgages, and more? Take a look at this quick history of debt and credit to find out.

3500 BC to 50 BC — The first consumer credit loan was probably made in Sumer, an ancient city in Mesopotamia, while the Babylonians may have been the first to write laws around credit in 1800 BC, including maximum interest rates.

Credit and debt were widespread through antiquity and the classical era of the Roman Empire, with written records of wealthy landowners buying more land on credit, in lieu of carting wagonloads of silver through the streets.

800 to 1500 AD – In the Middle Ages, economic activity that had centered on Rome collapsed and religious figures were skeptical of credit. The church banned credit, what they called “usury,” and it may have seriously hindered development in the period. By 1545, though, England had a legal interest rate, and lending had become an integral part of economic development, especially with the discovery of the New World around the corner.

1800s – In the 1800s, credit reporting was invented to find out a borrower’s credit-worthiness. Newsletters about people who failed to pay their debts were circulated until the modern credit report was invented by the Retail Credit Company in 1899, now Equifax.

1900s to Today – The automobile revolution makes borrowing a widespread phenomenon in the first part of the century, with automakers lending money to consumers. Later, the postwar housing boom made mortgages synonymous with the middle class. By the 1950s, retailers would set up individual credit accounts with individuals, while credit cards like Visa and American Express were popularized throughout the 1960s. Today, almost everyone has a credit card and many use them not to borrow money, but just for the convenience of paying without cash. Paying the full balance on your card is one of the smartest ways to use credit cards and improve your credit rating; for more tips or help eliminating your credit card debt, find a David Sklar office near you and ask about Consumer Proposals and credit counselling.

Debt doesn’t have to be bad; when you use it wisely, it can build your assets and put you in a healthier financial position. But if debt becomes too much for you to keep up with, at David Sklar & Associates, we can help you get out of debt and rebuild your credit rating. In addition to personal bankruptcy services, we also offer Consumer Proposal services, a way of renegotiating your debt with your unsecured creditors (like credit card companies). You can check out our Consumer Proposal FAQs for more information about how you can reduce your debt. For thousands of years, credit has been helping people achieve financial goals. It doesn’t have to be a burden and with our help at David Sklar & Associates, you can overcome your debt burden. Call us today.

Take Your First Step Towards A Debt Free Life

If you are overwhelmed by debt and live in the Toronto area, call us at 416-498-9200 to book a FREE, confidential appointment. We will review your financial situation in detail and discuss all of your options with you. Alternatively, you can fill out the form below and our team will reach out to you. 

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I cannot emphasize enough how thankful I am for Jackie Stanley's help with filing for bankruptcy.All of us dread being put in this position and we have a million questions about the process but trust me Jackie makes it so easy for you that you don't have to do anything yourself!She is very kind and friendly and puts you at ease right away. She emphasizes with you and let's you know it's not your fault.Most importantly when you leave that first meeting you will not believe the load that is taken off your shoulders. You can actually feel it!You are a godsend Jackie and I can't thank you enough!!I hope you are highly valued there as much as you are by me!
Sue Murray
18:45 05 Dec 21
Putting together and executing a Consumer Proposal can be daunting, that is unless you work with Cori Naron at David Sklar & Associates Inc. Cori's advice and support has been instrumental over the past five years. Thank you Cori!!
Barry Kuntz
20:37 01 Dec 21
I’m very happy with the services I received for Jackie Stanley who helped me get my finances in order. It was a quick and easy process & all of my questions were answered.
Amanda Frappier
01:18 19 Nov 21
I have had the privilege of being supported by Jackie at David Sklar Associate. She was very helpful, very professional and very friendly. She gave me the help I need. Thank you Jackie for your help.
Alex Taylor
22:03 17 Nov 21
Got my probe solved, great service
arny raposo
17:02 11 Nov 21
Jackie at Daivid Sklar and Associates is such a pleasure to work with. She explained everything in great detail and is always there when I have a question or concern. She really cares about her clients.
Steve Medica
09:33 10 Nov 21
I filed a proposal with another group, which came in as a referral from one of my brokers. My experience went from ok to bad to worse, due to lack of communication and education on the process I was to embark on. I worked with Cori Naron in the past, and I came to her now for help on literally doing the work that the other group should have done. Cori stepped in, educated me, advised on rights, responsibilities, how the process works and what potential outcomes may happen. I do not have enough words of recognition and gratitude for what she did - she alleviated stress, anxiety, dead-end thoughts and she made me live again. Congrats to DSklar for hiring her and retaining such talent.
Giani Kokolakis
18:45 25 Oct 21
Very professional service. Before contacting David Sklar & Associates i contacted bunch of other firms they seemed fishy. After I spoke with Jason Sklar at Hamilton Office I discovered professionalism with hope. I was explained every step of my situation with solution professionally. Thank you David Sklar & Associates.
Wajay Awan
07:29 12 Oct 21
I met David a few months ago and i am glad I did. He has helped me all the way through my bankruptcy with good advice and explained every step of the process. David is a very down to earth and very professional. Anytime I've had a question I was able to reach out to David by phone or email and he always got back to me. If your struggling with your bills and need a way to get help, I strongly recommend David Sklar &Associates to help you. My experience with them on 1-5scale would be a 5;; My life is so much better now, thanks to David Sklar.
Bruce Locke
16:13 08 Oct 21
I have had the privilege of being supported by Jackie S, at David Sklar n Associate.She was helpful, professional and friendly. I was able to get the help I needed at a difficult time in my life. I would recommend anyone who needs support with working out their debts to ask for Jackie, she will be waiting to assist however she can to help you through your debts. She works with a team who is always ready and responsive.Thank you Jackie and your team:)
Denise Simpson
15:17 09 Sep 21
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