20% of Americans Fear They'll Never Escape Credit Card Debt

According to a new survey by Lending Tree, 20% of Americans fear that they will never escape their credit card and other non-mortgage related debt and will be stuck with it for the rest of their lives. That’s depressing. Elizabeth Warren at Credit Slips says:”Lending Tree tries to put a happy face on some of the data (most people “perceive themselves as some day being debt free”), but I didn’t feel any better when I read it.” Yeah, we don’t feel any better either.

The survey is worth a read though, interested readers should head over and take a look. —MEGHANN MARCO

Lending Tree Smart Borrower Survey [Lending Tree via Credit Slips]
(Photo: Spidra Webster)

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  1. jeffj-nj says:

    I wonder if those people have considered buying less stuff.

  2. Rusted says:

    Some of it’s not stuff. I’ve known people who had to charge medical stuff because of our not-so-great non-Canadian medical system. Oh, did they get hurt (pun).

    Still, I paid off all mine and then the car payment, and then the mortgage. Interesting that my demographic, (mature singles) has the highest bankruptcy rate of 15 percent.

  3. spidra says:

    Darn. I was hoping you’d keep the name on the envelope since it belongs to someone who faked that they lived at my address. I want them to get some kind of comeuppance for their perjury…

  4. EvilTapioca says:

    Well then the obvious answer is to stop frigging maxing your cards out on stupid things.

  5. zolielo says:

    Sadly, people simply need to live within their means. To do that there most likely will be more than a bit of self sacrifice and hardship. Life is tough so one has to be tough as well.

  6. EtherealStrife says:

    @EvilTapioca: Just because you use your cc to buy stupid things doesn’t mean everyone does. During financially difficult times just coming up with enough to buy a loaf of bread can be difficult (without a cc). Try being unemployed for a few years and see what it does to your debt. It can happen to any of us, unless you work in a consistently stable industry that has an abundance of job openings (fast food, government, etc).

  7. timmus says:

    Well then the obvious answer is to stop frigging maxing your cards out on stupid things.

    EvilTapioca, please pick up the white courtesy phone, Post #2 is on the line.

  8. KenyG says:

    I am working my out of cc debt, what got me in the hole? A root canal, transmission repair and medical copay – those three items were roughly 3K in total.


    I try to be conservative and only purchase what is needed, but cc debt can happen very easily. I am now trying to balance paying off and building up my savings so the next time one of these things comes up I can pay cash. Mortgage, cars, home repairs, kids – gets tough out here some times.

  9. Lordstrom says:

    It’s not necessarily buying stuff, although that is part of it, but also the refusal to live without television, cell phones, and DSL.

  10. jeffj-nj says:

    @EtherealStrife: “Try being unemployed for a few years and see what it does to your debt.”

    No, thanks. I’d rather not. I was unemployed for about two months before I decided it wasn’t for me. That’s when I bit the bullet and started waiting tables. I kept looking for a job working with computers, sitting at a desk, doing the whole Dilbert/cubicle thing (and eventually found it) but at least while I was looking during the day, I was still pulling money in at night.

    Staying unemployeed for years just doesn’t seem like a good idea at all.

  11. rockergal says:

    Just last month I made the final payment to my original 25k debt, what got me there? Lawyer and US immigration fees (doing the whole becoming legal in the usa is friggin expensive!) Atleast I kept my intrest to 0%
    but now I am debt free and staying that way!

  12. loueloui says:

    While this report is quite interesting, one thing I have not heard mentioned is that the primary motive behind surveys just like these is to find a way to get you to give them more money.

    Yeah lesse, young family, more than $3,000 in credit card debt, send them the ‘day-to-day expenses’ brochure. And, since we know they’ll be in debt for a looong time make the teaser rate especially low, they’ll bite.

  13. Papa Midnight says:

    More informstion is needed for such a study:
    Buying habits
    Income levels
    Living conditions
    Family sizes