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How debt works

It may be difficult to know what a debt really is. Or what happens if your parents don't have the money to pay for that new tv. Here's how it works.

You are not alone. Many children in Sweden have parents who have debts with the Enforcement Authority. If you understand what is happening in your family and around you, you may feel better. Talk to your parents to get answers to your concerns. Here are some examples of how debt works.

What is the Enforcement Authority and what do we do?

We are a public authority working with debts. We help those who have not been paid and those who need to pay. Those in debt can often pay by deducting a portion of their salary each month to pay the debt. The person is always allowed to keep enough to pay for necessities for themselves and their family. Meanwhile, the person who has loaned out the money gets paid. This is important for the functioning of the economy in society.

What is a debt?

Alva's dad Anders wants a new tv. It costs a lot of money. He orders the tv without having enough money in his account. Anders chooses to buy on instalment instead. This means he can pay afterwards. He then has 14 days to pay for the tv.

After 14 days, Anders still does not have enough money in his account. He is unable to pay and has therefore incurred a debt.

Anders' debt is due to using money he does not have. A person can also get a debt because they have borrowed money from someone.

What happens when you cannot pay?

A debt must always be paid after a certain amount of time. If you have a debt, it can sometimes be difficult to pay. If it takes too long, we can help the person who is supposed to get paid get their money back.

There are different ways to pay

If one of your parents has a debt with us, they can pay in different ways. The first way is for your mum or dad to pay the person they borrowed from with money from their bank account, for example.

But often the money is not enough to pay the debt. Then part of your mum's or dad's salary can be used to pay off the debt each month. The family keeps money for essentials such as rent, food, and clothes. This way, the debt is paid off little by little. It can be tough, but after a while, the debt is paid off. How long it takes depends, for example, on how much money your parent has to pay and how much of their salary is used to pay off the debt each month.

We can also sell things the family owns to pay the debt. We do this if it takes more than one year to pay the debt with their salary. We sell things that are worth a lot of money. For example, it is quite common for us to sell cars. We also sell things like art, computers, gold jewellery, recreation equipment, and technical gadgets. We only try to sell things that the family can do without.

Does the house or flat have to be sold?

We always try to find ways for a person to pay a debt without the family having to move out of their home. This is particularly important if there are children or teenagers in the family. But sometimes money, salary, and things are not enough to pay a debt. If so, we may have to sell the family's house or flat to get money to pay the debt. If this happens, the municipality can provide support and help to the family.

Are you worried about your family's money?

You can call, email, or chat with Bris counsellors. You don't have to say your name, you can be anonymous.

Bris for your mum and dad

Your parents can also contact Bris. They can be anonymous if they want.