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The Average Debt is Over $230,000!

by Jon Dulin on August 27, 2014 · 4 comments

debtMany people reading this post find themselves in debt. After all, the average debt per household here in the US stands at over $230,000. This includes cars, student loans, mortgages and credit cards. That is a crazy big number. When I saw this number, it got me to thinking about the average debt statistics for people in general and other countries. Let’s take a look at some fascinating debt numbers – including some countries that you would think have debt but they have no debt at all. How do you stack up and what are your thoughts on all of this debt?

Average Debt: US Household

As I mentioned above, the US household average debt is over $230,000. Here is a breakdown of this debt:

US Household Average Debt

It makes sense that mortgages make up the majority of this number. But, the other debt numbers are troubling. Over $15,000 in credit card debt? Since most people have double-digit interest rates on this debt, it makes sense to pay this debt off first and foremost. If you have credit card debt and need a plan for paying it off, check out my post about a debt snowball or my Ready For Zero review.

Even as bad as the credit card debt number is, the auto debt number is high as well. This makes sense though since the average price of a new car is over $30,000. Of course it also tells us that a lot of people are buying a new car as opposed to a used car.

Average Debt By Age

If we break down average debt by age, we see that across the board, every age group is in debt:

Average Debt By Age

Of all of the above numbers, the scariest one (to me at least) is the debt of those aged 66 and older. Having over $23,000 worth of debt is crazy for retirement. The more debt you have in retirement, the more money you need to survive because you have your everyday living expenses as well as debt obligations. Maybe this is why so many older Americans are still working. I wonder how many could afford to retire if they had no debt.

For my wife and I, we are making it a point to save now for retirement and keep debt at bay. We are going to do everything we can to make sure we are debt free when we enter retirement (and even well before!)

Other Debt Demographics

I wanted to break down total debt further, but I couldn’t find information for average debt by gender or race. I did find average credit card debt for these categories, and here they are. First up is average credit card debt by gender:

Average Debt By Gender

Not surprisingly, men carry more debt than women, both in terms of credit cards and mortgages. I will admit though that the gap is closer than I would have assumed.
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