Credit card debt is still a problem in the United States today, although it isn't as bad as it has been. Americans are starting to save money again, but it seems they aren't attempting to cut down their current debt.
There are many factors to this, as the main difference between putting money back in a savings account and paying off a credit card is that credit is money you don't have. Savings, meanwhile, is money you have but don't want to touch. 2014's introduction of the ObamaCare tax fee is partially to blame, as many working U.S. citizens literally can't afford to pay for health insurance. Next year, anyone without health insurance is facing a whopping $600-plus tax fee, which is probably still more than they can afford.
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In many cases, credit card debt and health insurance almost go hand in hand. When the Affordable Care Act went into effect, insurance premiums everywhere went up and practically forced a good number of U.S. citizens to sign up for ObamaCare just to keep their coverage. When you're married with two children or more, the cost can be astronomical, often digging into credit just to be able to pay the bills.
Another concern is retirement, as it has been rumored that U.S. Social Security funds could run dry in the next decade. Nobody in authority has confirmed this, but the national deficit continues to rise as spending appears out of control. The American infrastructure is on the verge of crumbling, and we allegedly can't afford to fix it. Social Security may be similar, so that leaves the possibility that credit card debt will rise even further as more and more limited benefits are given to retirees.
That puts the pressure on us as U.S. citizens to save for our own retirement, but in order to do that, we will likely need better jobs with higher pay. This means higher education for the jobs that exist and will be made available in the future. Unfortunately, higher education also costs quite a lot. With tuition, books, food, rent, and everything put together, higher education isn't an option for many of us living in near poverty.
Too often at this point, the idea of putting money away for anything means ignoring our credit card debt and paying the bare minimum to keep it active. This also often means relying on public transportation because we can't afford a car. Not every location in the United States has a bus system, though, so then it comes down to taxi fare or used cars and the maintenance and repairs that come with them.
— NFCC (@nfccdebtadvice) April 28, 2016
Even if you do your own repairs, the parts can be cost-prohibitive, and many settle for the cheapest option. The problem with the cheap option is that sometimes you're sacrificing quality and it breaks down faster, leading to more repairs. The cheap option often ends up costing more than the best one. This, of course, leads to the potential of adding the cost to credit card debt.
BECU (Boeing Employees Credit Union) President and CEO Benson Porter has said that he is encouraged by the fact that U.S. citizens are beginning to save more money. However, he says, the persistence of credit card debt means there is still a lot of work to do.
[Image via Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock.com]