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Many Americans In Credit Card Debt Have Been In Debt For Over Two Years

[Tuesday, November 7th, 2017]

If you are carrying credit card debt and feel like you’ve been carrying it forever, you might be right. Well, maybe not forever, but for a while.

Nearly half of adults in the United States who are in debt to their credit cards have been trying to pay off their balance for at least two years, a recent study has found. That amounts to about 29 million people, 15 million of whom have been in credit card debt for five years or more.

Perhaps surprisingly, older folks (ages 63-71) are the most likely demographic to carry credit card debt for at least two years. Of this age category, 63% have been in credit card debt for two years or more. And 57% of those ages 72 and up have been carrying a balance for more than two years, as well.

Once you get in, it’s hard to get out

One of the reasons it’s hard to get out of credit card debt once you’re in it is that folks may have gone into debt because of an unexpected event or emergency. Once that’s happened, if your income doesn’t go up, it’s difficult to find the extra funds to put toward the balance you can’t pay off.

However, sometimes people get into debt simply by keeping up with their daily expenses, especially young people who make starting-out salaries. Fifty-one percent of people ages 18-26 said they are credit card debt only due to “keeping up with day-to-day expenses.”

Climbing out of debt

Sticking to a budget and not charging more to your credit card than you can afford is a good rule of thumb; however, sometimes it’s simply not possible. If you’re in credit card debt and have struggled to pay it off for a number of years, whether it’s two years or ten years, the best thing to do is apply for a balance transfer credit card that doesn’t charge interest for a certain number of months.

Using a promotional offer in this way is a good method for getting out of debt faster, and skipping the interest charges, while you’re at it.

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