Skip to Content Top

Sharp uptick in consumer debt is more frightening than fun


Earlier this month, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released data about the amount of debt that Americans are currently juggling and struggling to overcome. That new data suggests that consumers have run up more personal debt than they have since 2011, when the U.S. was still being significantly affected by the Great Recession.

This news would not be quite so unsettling if it was not paired with the news that consumer debt rates are rising very, very quickly. According to the newly released data, consumer debt in American rose by $241 billion in the last quarter of 2013. This rise represents the largest quarter-long increase in personal debt since the third quarter of 2007, just months before the Great Recession first took hold of the nation.

Consumer debt is generally made up of loans for automobiles, mortgages, credit card debt and other debt loads tied to purchases that Americans make on a daily basis. Some of these purchases are necessities, while others are luxuries. Therefore, it is not always possible to control one’s consumer debt fully when certain purchases are necessities.

Nonetheless, personal debt loads are rising so quickly that recently reported that nearly 30 percent of Americans have more credit card debt alone than they do savings. If you are among this significant fraction of Americans and you feel that your debt is spiraling out of control, do not wait until you hit your breaking point to talk to an attorney about debt management and debt relief options like bankruptcy.

Source: TIME, “ Americans Are Taking on Debt at Scary High Rates,” Sam Frizell, Feb. 19, 2014