Americans go deeper in debt to treat themselves

posted by iHeartMedia’s Audrey Morton - 

Every month, people spend about $200 on themselves.

A survey conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Eventbrite finds that the average American spends about 22 percent of their disposable income. That’s more than $140,000 in a lifetime.

Younger people (25 or younger) spent more (33 percent), while people over 55 spent less (13 percent) of their disposable income on experiences (a backstage pass to see their favorite artist) or luxury items (designer handbag) each month.

They felt less guilty spending it on “experiences” rather than material items because it’s a memory that lasts a lifetime.

Financial advisor and author Gary Sirak said we’re still trying to keep up with the Joneses.

“The credit card side of this world is unbelievable. The interest rates that we’re paying and for the things that we’re buying and delaying, and knowing full well that we can’t pay for them, it’s really created an amazing amount of stress,” said Sirak.

Financial consultant and tax attorney Rebecca Walser said the average household debt is $137,000 vs. household income of $59,000. The average credit card debit is $6,375 and average student loan debt is $37,172.

Sirak said while people with heavy debt are stressed it doesn't stop them from buying more than they can afford.

“The debt’s outstanding. And, it doesn’t surprise me that we’re really trying to overcome our grief with our debt by going out and spending more money. It’s just an amazing juxtaposition. We’re going the wrong direction,” said Sirak.

The survey found women spent more on massages, spa days, travel experiences or self-development classes. While, men spent money on vehicles and new technology.

Health and wellness are big right now, like goat yoga, substance-free morning raves and VIP treatment at music festivals.

A new movie out this summer casts a critical eye on conspicuous consumption.

People with the highest incomes were reported to enjoy free or low-cost things like exercise, a simple stroll with the dog or eating healthy. 

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