Survey: Americans Are (Still) Struggling With Debt

Survey: Americans Are (Still) Struggling With Debt
BY Tammi Huang
Jun 7, 2019
Key Takeaways:
  • A Freedom Debt Relief survey found that one in four Americans have more than $10,000 in credit card debt.
  • About one-third said they'd have to use credit cards to cover a $2,000 emergency.
  • And two-thirds said that if they received $5,000 they'd spend it to pay down debt.

While the United States is one of the richest countries in the world, debt continues to weigh us down. Credit cards, student loans, mortgages, car loans, personal loans, medical bills–according to our recent survey, most Americans have a combination of these types of debt. And despite their best intentions, many seem to be digging themselves deeper into the hole each year. So, why do we have a debt problem, and what can you do if you’re struggling with debt?

What Does “Struggling With Debt” Look Like?

According to our recent survey, 26% of people have more than $10,000 in credit card debt. To make things worse, 29% of those surveyed said that if they needed $2,000 for an emergency, they would reach for their credit cards. It’s no wonder why so many people are struggling with debt. 

The problem often compounds, leading to stress and preventing people from getting ahead financially. It’s a problem that many Americans are aware of, and also actively trying to get out of. In fact, 62% of those surveyed said they would use a $5,000 windfall to pay off credit card debt. However, you don’t have to wait for that to happen to start improving your finances.

End Struggling With Debt

Here are 5 things you can do immediately to start getting your debt under control:

1. Stop using your credit cards

One of the reasons Americans are drowning in debt is that they’re not plugging the holes in the sinking boat. If you’re struggling with debt, the first step is to stop accumulating more of it. For example, if you continue to use your credit cards, you’ll only make the problem worse. Instead, switch to paying with cash or a debit card so you won’t rack up additional debt as you’re trying to pay off what you already owe.

2. Set a realistic budget

Next, take stock of all debts, expenses, and income. Be honest about your needs and evaluate where you can cut costs. Once you’ve prioritized your expenses, create a spending plan that you can stick to. Remember, saving is also an important part of improving your financial health, so make sure to work that into your budget as well. Focus on living within your means so that you won’t have to rely on credit cards.

3. Change your lifestyle

Paying off debt requires a high level of commitment and will often require some lifestyle changes. It’s easy to get discouraged at times, but if you remain dedicated to achieving your goal, there’s a high probability that you will succeed. Aside from slashing expenses, try to think of other ways you can free up cash. Perhaps you could sell items around the house and put the profits toward paying down debt.

4. Add a side gig

If you’ve already cut back on your expenses, it may be time to consider earning some extra money. Flexible side hustles can bring in more cash and help you get free from debt faster. Consider your skills, experience, and available time when looking for ways to boost your income. These days, there are tons of creative ways to supplement your take-home pay.

5. Understand your debt relief options

There are many ways to get out of debt, and the right solution for some may not be the right solution for you. Your best debt relief option depends on how much you’re struggling with debt, how quickly you want to get rid of debt, and how much you can afford to pay. From accelerating your debt repayment to debt consolidation, debt negotiation, or debt settlement, there are multiple ways to ease your debt burden. A little research can go a long way toward giving you peace of mind.

Still Struggling With Debt? Get Help Here

If you’re still struggling with debt and feel overwhelmed about where to start, there are experts who can point you in the right direction. Freedom Debt Relief is here to help you understand your options for dealing with your debt, including our debt relief program. Our Certified Debt Consultants can help you find a solution that will put you on the path to a better financial future. Find out if you qualify right now.