The debt of Americans reached a new high last year: $13 trillion! Of course, each age group carries its share of the debt, but who has the most debt of all? Let’s find out…
Let’s Break The Numbers Down
Unfortunately, Americans are hooked on loans and credit cards, despite hating debt. “Despite recognizing that debt is dangerous waters, Americans are jumping in with both feet and struggling to stay afloat,” said Emily Holbrook, director of planning in Northwestern Mutual. As you may have guessed, credit cards and mortgages are the two biggest reasons for debt. Student and car loans follow them in second and third place. But what’s the average debt for each age group in the United States?
- 35 and younger – $67,400
- 35 to 44 – $133,100
- 45 to 54 – $134,600
- 55 to 64 – $108,300
- 65 to 74 – $66,000
- 75 years and older – $34,500
On the good side, citizens that are 65 and older have seen quite a massive decrease in the amount of debt they carry since 2015. Sadly, the opposite is true when it comes to millennials, however. Five years ago, the average millennial carried $49,722 of debt – last year, it rose to $78,396! Thankfully, it seems that Gen Z has not accumulated much debt. They do owe some, though: almost 13% of their credit cards were long past due in 2019!
Two Luckiest Groups
“The trend tends to follow when people have children and those kids’ needs,” said John R. Salter, professor of financial planning at Texas Tech University. “We see that rise in debt at the time most people are looking for bigger homes to get more space for their family, buying cars for their children, or paying college tuition for them.”
Sadly, the people who are working the hardest, those ages 35 to 54, carry the most amount of debt. However, as Holbrook explains, there’s a very good reason for that. “As you grow older, your expenses increase. The additional pressures that come onto the pocketbook only grow, and your disposable income shrinks in a lot of cases, even if your salary is growing,” Holbrook stated. While younger generations have debt due to student loans and credit cards, older generations have more long-term reasons for their bills, like mortgages or car loans. Meanwhile, while those over 65-years-old might seem in the black, a third of baby boomers don’t even have more than $25,000 in their account! As a result, they will probably work more and retire later than desired.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad news, and there’s a light at the end of a tunnel. According to many studies, more and more Americans are taking debt, saving, and money seriously. “This idea of saving for what you need and buying it outright has diminished as people have become more comfortable with financing,” Salter said.