Consumer Debt in The U.S.

Written By Naazma Garcia
Jul 11, 2022


Consumer debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high. According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. consumer debt is fast approaching a whopping $16 trillion (USD), a year-over-year increase of $1 trillion. Furthermore, Q4 of 2021 saw the highest rate of increase in consumer debt since 2007. 

Even as credit card debt has declined, mortgage and auto loan balances have increased dramatically. This trend may continue as the Fed is expected to begin raising interest rates in a move to get inflation under control. But just what exactly is consumer debt? And what does this mean for individuals? 

What is Consumer Debt?

Consumer debt is debt owed when individuals use a loan to purchase goods meant for individual or household consumption. Examples of consumer debt include auto loans, mortgages, student loans, credit card debt, legal fees incurred for family or household purposes, etc. This is in contrast to non-consumer debt, which includes debt owed on investment obligations, necessary medical expenses, business expenses, taxes, personal guarantees, tort claims, etc. 

The benefit of consumer debt is that it theoretically encourages spending among younger individuals, allowing them to pay for education and housing, then paying their debts as they age and their salaries grow. However, many people rack up debt on high-interest credit cards that must be paid on a monthly basis and find themselves spiraling deeper into debt. 

Why is Consumer Debt on the Rise in the U.S.?

Mortgage and auto loan balances have increased significantly from 2020 to 2022. This phenomenon was spurred on by pandemic-related market forces. For example, the home prices surged during the pandemic because consumers were offered historically low mortgage rates. On the other hand, auto loans increased because supply chain shortages and inflationary pressures increased the price of cars and a more expensive car means a more expensive loan. 

Credit card debt has been on the decline, but pending interest rate hikes may reverse this trend. An increase in credit card debt is particularly detrimental to overall consumer debt because the debt is not tied to tangible assets that increase in value over time (i.e. a mortgage on a house). Purchasing food, gas, and other goods that don’t hold value decrease a consumer’s net worth while driving up their debt. 

How Inflation Increases Consumer Debt

In June of 2020, the average retail gas price was about $2.12 a gallon. In June of 2022, the cost of the same gallon of gas is $4.87. Consumers can see inflation at work every time they buy groceries or pump their gas, but inflation also affects consumer debt. Price increases put financial pressure on consumers. If the price of gas doubles and you still take home the same salary, you may need to use a credit card to bridge the gap. 

These inflation-related pressures may soon be combined with increased short-term interest rates as a consequence of the Fed’s interest rate hikes, creating a perfect storm for U.S. consumer debt to hit new all-time highs.

So, how does one navigate such a hostile financial environment? 

Start Managing Your Debt Today

The most important thing you can do in an uncertain economic environment where inflation is out of control and interest rates are likely to rise is to get your debt under control. Caution, frugality, budgeting, and monitoring your debt-to-income ratio are smart ways to adjust to a financial crisis, but eliminating your debt should be the top priority.

The proper debt relief solution will be unique to each individual. Fortunately, Americor can tailor the optimal solution to your situation and help you navigate this uncertain economic environment. You can find out if you qualify for debt settlement, get a free debt analysis to determine if debt consolidation is a viable option, and receive credit counseling. Talk to a certified debt consultant today. 

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We provide debt resolution services. Our clients who make all monthly program payments save approximately 40 – 50% of their enrolled debt (average of 43%) upon successful program completion, before program fees. Fees are based on a percentage of your enrolled debt at the time of starting the program and range from 15%-25% of your enrolled debt. Programs range from 20-48 months. Clients must save at least 25% of each debt due to an enrolled creditor before a bona fide settlement offer will be made. On average, clients receive their first settlement within 4-7 months of enrollment and approximately every 3-6 months thereafter from when the prior debt was settled. Not all Clients complete the program. Estimates are based on prior results and may not match your results. We cannot guarantee that your debts will be resolved for a specific amount or percentage or within a specific timeframe. We do not assume your debts, make monthly payments to creditors or provide tax, bankruptcy, accounting, legal advice or credit repair services. Our program is not available in all states; fees may vary by state. Some programs may be offered through The Law Firm of Higbee & Associates d/b/a Advantage Law. The use of debt resolution services will likely adversely affect your credit. You may be subject to collections or lawsuits by creditors or collectors. Your outstanding debt may increase from the accrual of fees and interest. Any amount of debt forgiven by your creditors may be subject to income tax. Clients may withdraw from the program at any time without penalty and receive all funds from their dedicated account, other than funds earned by the company or fees paid to third-party service providers, as may be applicable. Read and understand all program materials prior to enrolling. Certain types of debts are not eligible for enrollment. Some creditors are not eligible for enrollment because they do not negotiate with debt relief companies. To determine the offers you may be eligible for, Americor conducts a “soft credit pull.” This credit pull does not impact your credit score, creditworthiness, or ability to obtain credit from other sources. The soft pull is not a tradeline entry, it does not report against your score and will only take a few minutes.

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