Brief History of Debt And What You Can Do About It

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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, call us at 1-844-962-9200 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 was quite nervous and a little embarrassed that I needed financial advice. I met with Jerry Janiec and he was very helpful. He made me feel comfortable and explained everything in easy to understand terms so that I understood what my options were. I would recommend David Sklar & Associates for anyone in my position.
Melissa Blackburn
19:53 17 Nov 22
I was fortunate enough to be referred to David Sklar & Associates Inc. by a family member. Now in the10th month of a Consumer Proposal process, I am very impressed with the organization, professionalism and impeccable customer representation that I have experienced. To this effect, I amparticularly thankful to Jerry Janiec and Rhoda Lewis for their excellent work.
Suzanna Vaclavik
12:21 16 Nov 22
Recently dealt with Christine at David Sklar & Assoc. and worked out a Consumer Proposal to put forth to my creditors for my Credit Card debt. She was very courteous, professional and put me at ease with a proposal that I can afford on a monthly basis, which will eliminate my debit in a reasonable timeframe. I would recommend Christine and this firm in a heartbeat. Very happy with the service and attention I got !!
Patrick Kovanchak
01:59 15 Nov 22
Excellent customer service. Special thanks to Olga for being prompt and helpful. She’s a star. Bibi is helpful as well. Great agency to work with.
Fady Tadros
19:28 14 Nov 22
After seeing your commercial play on CP24, I realized that it addressed all the questions and concerns I had about my financial situation. It all started with my one phone call to your office. I had the extreme pleasure of working with Cori Naron at your St. Clair West office in September 2022. She took the time to explain what my options were knowing that it was a very stressful situation with my debt load. She made me feel at ease with my decision to file a consumer proposal and outlined the benefits to me. She is thorough and her attention to detail is outstanding. While it takes a little while to reap the benefits of making this hard decision, she took the time to reassure me that it was in my best financial interest. Well done David Sklar & Associates for having such an amazing representative at your company and for allowing me to "get a fresh start"!
14:31 14 Nov 22
Very highly perfection individual, well executed and greatly knowledgeable in his work, which guided me me the right decisions making opportunities. Thank you.Sincerely, Peter Romasz
Peter Romasz
20:18 13 Nov 22
Trina Powell was very helpful and made the process very easy. Thanks again for all your help.
Jennifer Hager
17:59 06 Nov 22
Jerry is a caring, trustful, knowledgeable and competent Sklar associate. He understood my needs and quickly went to work on my behalf. Ever indebted to David Sklar and Associates and especially to Jerry for his professionalism and caring approach.
David Craig
19:31 31 Oct 22
Jerry Janiec is very knowledgeable and very helpful everything he explained to me was straightforward and very easy to understand. I'm very pleased to be working with Jerry to become debt free. I will definitely be recommending to any friends or colleagues your services.Thank you again for helping me get on the road to be debt free. 5 Stars is well deserved.
Christopher Rakobowchuk
17:41 27 Oct 22
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Mehri Agil
02:43 26 Oct 22
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