JW’s Financial Coaching Podcast Lesson #146-Why we end up with so much credit card debt

  • In research for my upcoming book, been looking at statistics on credit card debt
  • Why credit card debt is not just an income or age issue
  • 3 ways to avoid credit card debt
  • Why I don’t own a credit card
  • Quote of the lesson from Mark Cuban

In doing some research for my upcoming book, on how debt free people think, I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on debt statistics. Recently I did some research on credit card debt and the recent surveys and statistics coming out in regards to credit cards and their usage are quite startling.

  • Gallup found in 2014 that 71% of Americans own at least one credit card [1]
  • As of March 2016 38.1% of households that have a credit card have a balance at the end of each month with an average debt of $16,000 [2]
  • Among all US households the average credit card debt as of 2016 is $6,184.16 [3]
  • Among those who carry a credit card balance the average household will pay $1,292 in interest [4]
  • Total Outstanding US Credit Card is $762 billion[5]
  • Credit card ownership by Age:
    Age Range    Percent that own a credit card
    18-24               67%
    25-34               83%
    35-49               76%
    50+                  78%
  • 56% of Undergraduate students owned a credit card in 2016
  • Credit Card Debt by Age as of 2016
    Age Range    Average Credit Card Debt
    18-34               $5,808
    35-44               $8,235
    45-54               $9,096
    55-64               $8,158
    65+                  $6,351
  • Average Credit Card Debt by Income as of 2016
    Income Range           Average Credit Card Debt
    < $25,000                    $3,000
    $25,000 to $44,999    $3,900
    $45,000 to $69,999    $4,900
    $70,000 to $114,999  $5,800
    $115,000 to $159,999 $8,300
    $160,000+                   $11,200
  • Average annual credit card interest cost by household income in 2016
    Annual Income Range    Average annual interest paid
    Less than $21,432                   $677.43
    $21,432-$41,186                     $839.60
    $41,187-$68,212                     $1,135.91
    $68,213-$112,262                   $1,303.76
    $112,263-$157,479                 $1,882.85
    More than $157,490                $2,515.05
  • Annual credit interest paid by employment status in 2016
    Employment Status        Average annual interest paid
    Employee                                $1,210.58
    Self-employed                        $1,630.84
    Retired                                    $1,321.84
    Other, not working                  $1,554.57
  • Average Credit Card Debt by Gender
    Gender        Average Credit Card Debt
    Male            $7,407
    Female        $5,245

What does this information tells us? What I noticed was that credit card debt isn’t just a thing for those who don’t make a lot of money or are young. There are people in their 50’s and 60’s and those make well over six figures that have credit card debt.

The fact that we as a nation have $762 Billion in credit card debt is absurd. So today’s show I share ways to avoid credit card debt in the first place. On the surface they might seem basic, but a lot of times when it comes to personal finance, basic is usually the best answer.

  1. Don’t have a credit card in the first place.
  2. Do a monthly budget
  3. Have an Emergency Fund

We break down each of those ways further and share why whether or not you carry a balance on your credit card is not a good measure of whether it is wise for your to use one.

Other resources mentioned on today’s show

To send in your questions email me at Jon@JWFinancialCoaching.com

Today’s quote of the lesson is brought to you by Audible.com

“Credit Cards are the WORST investment you can make” ~ Mark Cuban

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[1] http://www.gallup.com/poll/168668/americans-rely-less-credit-cards-previous-years.aspx

[2] https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-credit-card-debt

[3] https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/

[4] https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household/

[5] https://www.valuepenguin.com/average-credit-card-debt

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