According to a 2020 Experian study, the average American carries $92,727 in consumer debt. Consumer debt includes a variety of personal credit accounts, such as credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, personal loans, and student loans.
The average American has $90,460 in debt, according to a 2021 CNBC report. That included all types of consumer debt products, from credit cards to personal loans, mortgages and student debt. The average amount of debt by generation in 2020: Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $16,043.
Likewise, millennial consumers (ages 25 to 40) have an average of $27,251 in non-mortgage debt, presumably across credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.
Generally speaking, a good debt-to-income ratio is anything less than or equal to 36%. Meanwhile, any ratio above 43% is considered too high.
Many people would likely say $30,000 is a considerable amount of money. Paying off that much debt may feel overwhelming, but it is possible. With careful planning and calculated actions, you can slowly work toward paying off your debt.
“Good” debt is defined as money owed for things that can help build wealth or increase income over time, such as student loans, mortgages or a business loan. “Bad” debt refers to things like credit cards or other consumer debt that do little to improve your financial outcome. These are oversimplifications.
“Shark Tank” investor Kevin O'Leary has said the ideal age to be debt-free is 45, especially if you want to retire by age 60. Being debt-free — including paying off your mortgage — by your mid-40s puts you on the early path toward success, O'Leary argued.
Is being debt-free the new rich? Yes, as long as you have money and assets, in addition to no debts. Living loan-free is a fantastic way to stay financially secure, and it is possible for anyone. While there are a couple of downsides to being debt-free, they are minimal.
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. And that percentage may rise.
From ages 25-34, the median wage is $60,000 and will increase to a median wage of $90,000 by ages 45-59. Compare that with a major in the health field, which has a median wage of $53,000 at ages 25-34 and grows to a median wage of $72,000 by ages 45-59.
When you have no debt, your credit score and other indicators of financial health, such as debt-to-income ratio (DTI), tend to be very good. This can lead to a higher credit score and be useful in other ways.
On average, Americans carry $5,315 in credit card debt, but if your balance is much higher—say, $20,000 or beyond—you may be feeling hopeless. Paying off a high credit card balance can be a daunting task, but it's possible.
However, far from debt being out of the ordinary, it may be a normal part of everyday life. In fact, studies suggest it's actually normal to owe large amounts of debt.
If you have credit card debt, you're not alone. On average, Americans carry $6,194 in credit card debt, according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review. And Alaskans have the highest credit card balance, on average $8,026.
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.
Many people see debt as a necessary evil, but it still is possible to live—and thrive—without using debt or worrying about your credit scores. The benefits of debt-free living are easy to understand, but it's important to know what challenges you'll face and how to overcome them if you stop playing using credit.
Being debt free to start with means having minimal to no bad debts and average good debts. Being debt free doesn't mean you have no mortgage, bills, or car payment. It means you carry a manageable amount of debt, and are cognizant of your borrowing and DTI.
Mortgage Debt in the US
In 2019, the average American mortgage debt was $213,599. This figure increased to $215,655 or by nearly 1% (0.96%) in 2020. If we go further back, the difference is a bit higher. For example, in 2015, the average balance owed for mortgages was $184,323.
You should aim to have everything paid off, from student loans to credit card debt, by age 45, O'Leary says. “The reason I say 45 is the turning point, or in your 40s, is because think about a career: Most careers start in early 20s and end in the mid-60s,” O'Leary says.
In August 2021, about 64 million people with a credit record (about 28 percent of Americans) had debt in collections on their credit report, down from 68 million in 2019.
Mortgages are seen as “good debt” by creditors. Since the mortgage debt is secured by the value of your house, lenders see your ability to maintain mortgage payments as a sign of responsible credit use. They also see home ownership, even partial ownership, as a sign of financial stability.
The auto loan itself would be considered the "debt." The payments toward it would be considered "debt payments." With regard to your credit report, if you are applying for another loan somewhere and they looked at your debt-to-income ratio, the monthly auto loan payments would be included on the debt side.
Mortgages are seen as “good debt” by creditors. Because it's secured by the value of your house, lenders see your ability to maintain mortgage payments as a sign of responsible credit use. They also see home ownership, even partial ownership, as a sign of financial stability.