Sunday, July 24, 2011

Debt = The Status Quo for Americans

With the presence of credit cards, ubiquitous advertising, and even the current U.S. debt ceiling "crisis", it is no surprise that debt seems to be part of the American way of life. The figure below is more eye-opening than shocking, and more than anything it serves as motivation for me to avoid the lifelong debt trap.

lifetime of debt A Lifetime of Debt: The Average Americans Financial Journey

$600,000 in interest??  I don't think so.
Here are a few takeaways from this infograph:

  • Start making good decisions early.  Getting into debt in as early as high school may set the tone for the rest of your life as you get used to idea of being in debt;  On the flipside, getting into the habit of saving and paying cash for your purchases can lead to lifelong financial responsibility. Also, the longer you hold a debt, the more you can expect to pay in interest, so it is best to pay it off as quickly as possible. 
  • Plan for major purchases. Most people go into debt paying for college education, buying a vehicle, or purchasing a home.  If you know these major purchases are coming up, start saving aggressively to minimize the amount of money that you need to borrow to pay for them.  
  • Live within your means.  By making sure you always spend less than you earn, and having a healthy emergency savings, you can avoid racking up credit debt and having multiple credit cards. The infograph also notes that two thirds of American households have more than 1 vehicle, and most Americans use a loan to finance every vehicle.  If you don't need luxuries such as multiple vehicles or mini-mansions, it is irresponsible to go into debt to pay for them.  

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your two cents