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Millions carrying credit card debt for 2 years or more

Credit cards are so commonplace these days, that it may seem like just about everyone in Tennessee has at least one. While they can be useful, especially when there are incentives such as airline miles, the unfortunate fact is that sometimes a person's life circumstances keep them from being able to pay off their credit card bills each month, leading to credit card debt.

Almost 50 percent of all adults in the United States who have credit card debt report that for the past 24 months or more, they have carried a balance on their credit cards. That amounts to almost 29 million individuals who currently have credit card debt. Moreover, about 15 million of these individuals carrying credit card debt have done so for five years or more.

This information came from a Creditcards.com survey that examined more than 2,000 individuals in the United States. It found that 63 percent of those between the ages of 63 through 71 had credit card debt, and 57 percent of those age 72 and above had credit card debt.

The survey found that this debt was not necessarily the result of splurges or irresponsible spending. Many of these people have had to rely on credit cards to pay for food, child care and electric bills, among other necessities. In fact, of those between the ages of 18 through 36 reported more than half reported they used their credit cards to pay for their daily necessities. Medical expenses, home repairs and car repairs were also cited as reasons for credit card debt, as were retail purchases and vacations.

As this shows, many times a person has no choice but to put an expense on a credit card. Even the most financially responsible person could face an unexpected illness or a job loss that could lead to a significant loss of income through no fault of their own, forcing them to incur credit card debt just to get by. When a person is in this situation, they may want to learn more about whether filing for bankruptcy could help them wrest control of their finances, so they can move forward on a clean slate.

Source: Fox Business, "Nearly half of Americans carry credit card debt for at least 2 years," Jade Scipioni, Sept. 28, 2017

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Mathis, Bates & Klinghard PLLC
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