You must be in one heck of a lot of debt. I say that because I’m retired, might be described as a high net worth individual and I don’t carry any debt. HOWEVER, based on the latest reports American consumer debt is now at all time high’s again. If I’m not carrying any debt, than maybe you are carrying my share. Here are some just released national statistics.
The New York Federal Reserve released a new report in May 2017 that showed U.S. collective household debt balances totaled $12.73 trillion in March 2017, surpassing the 2008 peak of $12.68 trillion.
The amount of debt you carry might be harmful to both you, and in total, to our entire economy.
- Massive student load debt is a deterrent to home ownership until much later in life, if at all. Student loan debt is one of the few debts NOT discharged under bankruptcy.
- People are taking out very long term car loans to keep monthly payments down. However, they end up with a large negative equity. Typically, car dealers tack on an amount equal to the negative equity to a loan for your next vehicle. To keep the monthly payments stable, the new credit is for a greater length of time. Over the course of multiple trade-ins, negative equity accumulates. Moody’s calls this the “trade-in treadmill”.
- Older Americans are taking on a greater share of debt than in years past. Those ages 60 and older held 22.5% of total household debt at the end of 2016, compared with 15.9% in 2008 and 12.6% in 2003.These high levels of debt could mean older Americans don’t have enough money saved for retirement!
- Keeping up with the “Jones”? The rise in the cost of living is greater than income growth over the last 13 years. Median household income has grown 28% since 2003, but expenses have skyrocketed. Medical costs increased by 57% and food and beverage prices by 36% in that same time frame. Check out the chart below, pretty sick!
We are currently in the late stages of an economic boom, workers are comfortable with their jobs, the stock market is hitting all-time highs almost everyday, life is good.
Your life may not be so good if you are carrying too much debt for your stage of life and income level. It also greatly depends on what type of debt you are carrying. I’ll write more about consumer debt in a future article.
Good stuff Jim. Doesn’t consumer debt help fuel consumer spending which has a significant positive impact on our economic growth? Just saying…
Hi Ron, some consumer debt helps but there can be a bigger long term displacement. Student loan debt doesn’t help. Large interest expense on credit cards over time depletes the consumers ability to continue buying. As credit charge offs increase it is a drag on the economy. As with so many other things, credit in moderation is very good, swing the pendulum and we have issues.