It doesn’t take long for young adults to accumulate a fair amount of debt. This debt is not just student loans, which are becoming increasingly more burdensome. It often includes credit card and other personal debt.
A recent study by CreditCards.com found that over 60 percent of people in the millennial generation (18 to 37) said they do not know when they’ll be debt-free — or if they ever will. Almost a fifth said they expected to be in debt when they die. Another study by Northwestern Mutual of people from 18 to 34 found that their average personal debt was approximately $36,000 — and that was excluding mortgages.
One CreditCards.com analyst says, “Everybody can get out of debt.” However, it takes planning, hard work and some sacrifices. Setting a target date for being debt-free can help.
One 34-year-old who just paid off his student loan debt picked up extra jobs and seriously limited his spending. He says that, “there were times when I ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches until I ran out of peanut butter, and then I just ate jelly sandwiches.”
Most people ca not live on jelly sandwiches — particularly if you are supporting a family. However, credit experts recommend allocating as much of your income as possible to paying off your debt. American Consumer Credit Counseling, a non-profit organization, suggests at least 5 percent.
However, experts also recommend looking at your full long-term financial future. That means also putting aside some money for things like a home, children and eventually retirement. It is also important to have enough money set aside to live on for at least three months if the need arises. One thing that we saw during the recent federal shutdown was that many of the impacted workers were struggling after missing just one paycheck.
If your debt has become overwhelming and you are having trouble paying for your basic living expenses, it may be time to consider bankruptcy as an option. It may be the best way to hit the reset button on your finances and get a fresh start. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can provide more information to help you decide what is best for you. For a free initial consultation, contact the Quinn Law Firm at 814-833-2222.