While the economy is improving, Americans are still having a hard time kicking the charging habit. According to a new national survey, more Americans have credit card debt than any other kind of debt, including mortgages. This is the first time that has happened in 18 years. The survey also finds that 28% of Americans admit to carrying a credit card balance from month to month, with 43% carrying a balance for at least two years.
The report matches the findings of other recent surveys showing a growth in the nation's credit card debt. Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com, says this is a dangerous trend. "The fact that people are carrying credit card debt in good economic times generally is troubling, because it can keep them from saving and investing, and building a cushion that can help them when things inevitably turn for the worse," he tells KTRH.
If you are one of the millions of Americans saddled with credit card debt, Schulz recommends starting with small, positive steps toward bringing it down. "You should pay as much above the minimum as you reasonably can, because otherwise debt can grow really, really quickly," he says. But his biggest advice for those trying to attack credit card debt: "Make a budget," says Schulz. "You cannot have a meaningful battle plan against debt if you don't know exactly how much money is coming in and how much is going out each month."