Why Many Americans Believe They Will Never Get Out of Debt

November 8, 2018, Written By Lynn Oldshue
Why Many Americans Believe They Will Never Get Out of Debt

Debt is an obstacle in the lives of many Americans, but for some, it is a lifelong burden they can’t overcome. According to a new study, 29% of Americans believe they will never get out of debt.

When asked why they struggled with debt, 44% of respondents said they did not make enough money. One in five said the cost of living in their area was too high, and another 20% said they paid a lot to go to college.

Debt levels varied by age group, but it seems to peak in the 35-44 year old age group. Those consumers carried an average debt of $68,233, compared to $48,066 for those 65 and older. The youngest age group, 18-24, carried an average debt of $28,097. This data is consistent with a separate study from LightStream, which showed 80% of people ages 36-51 carry debt (compared to 75% of Millennials and 69% of Baby Boomers).

While the youngest consumers carried the least amount of debt, this is the age where most respondents said they became “burdened by debt.” More than half of the participants said debt became a burden before the age of 35.

Credit cards were the most troubling source of debt. One-third of respondents said they wanted to get rid of credit card debt more than any other form of debt. Student loans were next with 27%, followed by mortgages, medical bills and auto loans.

When asked “What would you do if you could eliminate or reduce your debt?”, 42% said they would save more for retirement. Additionally, 30% said they would like to travel, and 26% said they would invest more or buy a home.

Young Millennials remain the most confident about debt control. A surprising 86% of this group believe they will get out of debt. Men are also more confident than women at 76% vs. 67%. Baby Boomers were the least optimistic age group, with 34% saying they will always be in debt.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 8, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Lynn Oldshue

Lynn Oldshue has written personal finance stories for LowCards.com for twelve years. She majored in public relations at Mississippi State University.
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