Even though household net worth is on the rise in America (at $141 trillion in the summer of 2021)—so is debt. The total personal debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high of $14.96 trillion. The average American debt (per U.S. adult) is $58,604 and 77% of American households have at least some type of debt.
The average U.S. household with debt now owes $155,622, or more than $15 trillion altogether, including debt from credit cards, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, auto loans, student loans and other household obligations — up 6.2% from a year ago.
Average household debt increased.
More than three-fourths of all American households hold some form of debt. Credit cards are the most common type of debt, followed by mortgages and car loans. Nearly half of households have credit card debt, 40 percent have mortgage debt and 37 percent have car loans.
So how much non-mortgage debt do Americans have? According to Northwestern Mutual's 2021 Planning & Progress Study, U.S. adults aged 18 and over who carry debt hold an average of $23,325 outside of their mortgages.
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.
Kevin O'Leary, an investor on “Shark Tank” and personal finance author, said in 2018 that the ideal age to be debt-free is 45. It's at this age, said O'Leary, that you enter the last half of your career and should therefore ramp up your retirement savings in order to ensure a comfortable life in your elderly years.
The average credit card holder in the U.S. had $5,668 in credit card debt in Q2 2021 — that's 1% higher than Q1 2021's $5,611 average. 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.
1. In 2020, the average American's debt payments made up 8.69% of their income. To put this into perspective, the average American allocates almost 9% of their monthly income to debt payments, which is a drop from 9.69% in Q2 2019.
The average American's savings varies by household and demographic. As of 2019, per the U.S. Federal Reserve, the median transaction account balance (checking and savings combined) for the American family was $5,300; the mean (or average) transaction account balance was $41,600.
Consumers in the United States had 15.24 trillion dollars in debt as of the third quarter of 2021, the majority of which was home mortgages, at 10.44 trillion U.S. dollars. Student loan debt was the second largest component, totaling 1.58 trillion U.S. dollars.
Gen X — Average debt: $140,643
With ages ranging from 41 to 56, Gen Xers have a wide range of life experiences, along with the highest average debt of any generation. Many members of Gen X are sending their kids to college for the first time, while still carrying an average student loan balance of just over $45,000.
Federal Student Loan Debt by Age
Federal debt among 24-and-under borrowers has declined 3.6% since 2017. Federal borrowers aged 25 to 34 owe an average debt of $33,570. Debt among 25- to 34-year-olds has increased 6.1% since 2017. 35- to 49-year-olds owe an average federal debt of $43,208.
It found that about 54% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. And nearly 40% of high earners — those making more than $100,000 annually — said they live that way.
“We would recommend between $100 to $300 of cash in your wallet, but also having a reserve of $1,000 or so in a safe at home,” Anderson says. Depending on your spending habits, a couple hundred dollars may be more than enough for your daily expenses or not enough.
On the whole, the survey found that Americans' average personal savings have grown 10% year over year, from $65,900 in 2020 to $73,100 in 2021. Retirement savings have jumped 13% from $87,500 to $98,800.
In 2019, the federal state of California had about 506.66 billion U.S. dollars of debt outstanding, the most out of any state. New York, Texas, Illinois, and Florida rounded out the top five states with the most debt outstanding in 2019.
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.
In the third quarter of 2021, Americans racked up $17 billion in credit card debt, the same increase as in the second quarter, according to data published Tuesday in the New York Federal Reserve's Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit.
3. The USA has the highest average national credit card debt. Shift Processing compared the median credit card debt in the United States in 2020 to the one in nine other countries worldwide. The USA is in the lead, according to global credit card debt statistics, with average 2020 debt of $5,331.
A debt-free lifestyle can increase your financial security and means that you don't have to worry about debt hanging over you if the unexpected happens. Things like a sudden job loss, or unexpected medical issue are challenging in the best of circumstances.
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.
While the average age borrowers expect to pay off their mortgage is 59, the number of survey participants who have no idea when they will pay it off at all stood at 16%. In 2019, 9% of those asked didn't know and in 2020, 11% gave this answer.
According to Bankrate's survey, 25% of Americans have no emergency savings. That's why the high savings rate during the pandemic does not tell a full story, said Greg McBride with Bankrate. “That has certainly not fallen evenly across all households,” he said. Low-income households had a hard time saving.