Freedom Debt Relief Survey Highlights The Biggest Contributor to Credit Card Debt is Everyday Expenses

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San Mateo, Calif., Feb. 4, 2019 – Freedom Debt Relief has released results of a new survey detailing how Americans feel about spending, saving, debt and tax reform and refunds.

Commissioned by Freedom Debt Relief, the online poll was conducted January 23-25 among a national sample of 2,195 adults aged 18-65. Data was weighted for age, gender and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States.

  • Affordable healthcare. Across all demographics, affordable healthcare ranked as the most important financial issue. Overall, 36 percent of respondents ranked affordable healthcare at the top of the list, ahead of wage growth (28 percent), affordable housing (26 percent) and affordable education (10 percent). Among age groups, 48 percent of Baby Boomers, and 38 percent of GenX respondents, ranked affordable healthcare as the most important of these concerns.
  • Reliance on credit cards for basic needs. More than half (53 percent) of respondents reported carrying a credit card balance month to month. The biggest contributor to credit card debt was everyday expenses such as food, utilities and gas (42 percent), followed by retail purchases (17 percent) and medical bills (13 percent).
  • Inability to handle unexpected expenses. Of survey respondents, 54 percent said that it would be difficult to very difficult to handle an unexpected $500 expense.
  • Planned use of tax refunds. Forty-one percent of those surveyed plan on paying off debt with their tax refund. Another 26 percent plan to put their refund into savings, and 7 percent plan on investing it.
  • 48 percent said that debt impacts their ability to save.
  • 40 percent said that debt impacts their ability to take a vacation.
  • 38 percent said that debt is impacting their ability to save for retirement.
  • 46 percent said that debt leaves them feeling stressed.
  • 40 percent said that debt contributes to delaying life goals.
  • 12 percent said that debt is a reason for delaying having children.

“The survey highlights several financial and economic issues,” says Michael Micheletti, director of corporate communications for Freedom Debt Relief. “One is that basic needs are driving credit card spending. Reliance on credit for these types of expenses – and inability to cover even a relatively small unexpected expense is concerning. Another key issue is the growing role that healthcare costs play in driving credit card debt, and how people feel about the need for affordable healthcare. Even among Generation Z, affordable healthcare ranked more important than affordable housing, affordable education or even wage growth.”


Freedom Debt Relief

Co-founded by Andrew Housser and Brad Stroh, Freedom Debt Relief part of Freedom Financial Network, LLC, a family of companies providing innovative solutions that empower people to live healthier financial lives. For people struggling with debt, the custom Freedom Debt Relief program offers the chance to significantly reduce and resolve what they owe more quickly than they could on their own. Learn more about the company and its services.

Headquartered in San Mateo, California, Freedom Debt Relief also operates an office in Tempe, Arizona, and employs more than 2,300. The company has been voted one of the best places to work in both the San Francisco Bay area and the Phoenix area for several years.