When considering your financial health, debt is something that is unavoidable to address.

Debt includes balances on any type of loan you have taken out such as credit cards, mortgages, student loans, or car payments. It can also be in the form of medical bills or snowball once you become behind on your bills. Debt is an arrangement that occurs when one borrows money under the condition that it will be paid back at a later time, often with interest.

However, not all debt is bad. Debt can also help you gain credit or be considered an investment. Owning a credit card and keeping a balance you can afford to pay off each month is a great way to build credit. It let’s lenders know that you pay your bill on time and are trustworthy to provide you with a loan. Nevertheless, when you carry a lot of debt, it can affect your ability to save or even live your life. Your debt to income ratio allows lenders to measure your ability to pay back your loans. The Federal Reserve considers 40% a stressful debt to income ratio—a low debt to income ratio is considered about half of this. If you have a high debt to income ratio, don’t worry.

We spoke with Financial Consultant, Aisha Taylor, the Founder of FNPhenomenal on 5 ways to financially free yourself for debt free living!