For several years, Sweden has been one of the countries in the Western world where the debts of private individuals have increased most in relation to how much money we earn. This is obviously a little worrying as we have started to approach record figures with a debt ratio of about 161 percent. Even though the Swedes have been at the top when it comes to raising debt in relation to income, we are still only in the middle when comparing debt ratios with other European countries today.
Debts in relation to GDP have also been looked at
The measure used is thus how much debt you have in relation to disposable income (disposable income is simply how much money you have to move with when wages and grants have been received minus taxes and other expenses). Debts in relation to GDP have also been looked at.
Sweden has had a development where the debt ratio has increased quite a bit and from 1995 it has almost doubled. At that time it was at 88% and in 2010 the Swedes had a debt ratio of 161%. However, today we are not as bad off as some other countries.
Greatest debt growth before the financial crisis
The countries where people have the greatest debt in relation to disposable income are Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The aforementioned countries have debts that are noticeably higher and in comparison it looks relatively good in Sweden.
These countries had the greatest debt growth before the financial crisis and even after that they have continued to develop negatively. However, it is always a bit difficult to compare different countries in a perfectly good way because there are different rules for loans and income measures etc, which you should of course consider when drawing conclusions.
So if we go back to Sweden then we are somewhere in the middle of the 10 countries that were included in the survey but just because we are not at the top does not mean that you should not worry.
Debt levels being reduced
For example, we have seen one of the strongest debt developments over a number of years, although in recent years there has been a slight slowdown.
However, it is believed that this is partly due to, for example, the boom with increased salaries and more cash at the cashier rather than the debt levels being reduced so much. The debts are still there and that means that for the future you still have to worry about the recession and other things that can poke holes in the bubble.