The average credit card interest rate in 2021 was 16.13%. With 16% interest, it would take 447 months (more than 37 years) to pay off $30,000 in credit card debt.
The debt avalanche method involves making minimum payments on all debt, then using any extra funds to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate. The debt snowball method involves making minimum payments on all debt, then paying off the smallest debts first before moving on to bigger ones.
If you're carrying serious credit card debt — like $15,000 or more — you're not alone. The average household with revolving credit card debt — that is, debt that they carry from one month to the next — had more than $7,000 worth of revolving balances in 2019. That's just the average.
In short, when you become debt free, you will experience freedom and relief in your financial life. You will know what it's like to make money and keep it. You will build savings with ease, and accomplish financial goals quicker than ever.
It's Best to Pay Your Credit Card Balance in Full Each Month
Leaving a balance will not help your credit scores—it will just cost you money in the form of interest. Carrying a high balance on your credit cards has a negative impact on scores because it increases your credit utilization ratio.
Those who graduate college with student loans owe close to $30,000 on average, according to the most recent data from the Institute for College Access & Success. But they'll likely repay thousands more than that because of interest. One key to limiting interest cost is choosing the right repayment plan.
So for $35,000 in loans at recent interest rates, a person would need an annual salary of about $53,250. But college finance expert Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Cappex.com, said people should be OK if they simply make sure their total college loans don't exceed their annual pay.
You can pay less than the full amount owed if you negotiate with a lender to settle the debt. Debt settlement companies offer the option to settle debt on your behalf for a fee, but there are many drawbacks to this process, including shattered credit and high fees.
A good goal is to be debt-free by retirement age, either 65 or earlier if you want. If you have other goals, such as taking a sabbatical or starting a business, you should make sure that your debt isn't going to hold you back.
Here's the average debt balances by age group: Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $9,593. Millennials (ages 24 to 39): $78,396. Gen X (ages 40 to 55): $135,841.
That means most American adults either carry a mortgage, owe on a car, face monthly student loan payments, roll over charges on their credit cards—or all of the above. And yet, over half of Americans surveyed (53%) say that debt reduction is a top priority—while nearly a quarter (23%) say they have no debt.
Credit Card Debt Trends
From the first Q1 2020 to Q2 2021, the average credit card debt per cardholder decreased by $766 or 12%. The average cardholder had $6,434 in Q1 2020. In Q2 2021, the total credit card balance in the country reached $787 billion, 8.5% lower than the $893 billion recorded in Q1 2020.
Credit bureaus suggest that five or more accounts — which can be a mix of cards and loans — is a reasonable number to build toward over time. Having very few accounts can make it hard for scoring models to render a score for you.
Most lenders say a DTI of 36% is acceptable, but they want to loan you money so they're willing to cut some slack. Many financial advisors say a DTI higher than 35% means you are carrying too much debt.
Debt consolidation loans can hurt your credit, but it's only temporary. When consolidating debt, your credit is checked, which can lower your credit score. Consolidating multiple accounts into one loan can also lower your credit utilization ratio, which can also hurt your score.