It's an unfortunate aspect of life: there are people out there who prey on people who are in difficult life situations. Often these scam attempts revolve around money, and usually the targets are people who are significantly in debt. Mortgages, credit card debt, auto loans -- all of these things have caused many people to believe that a voice on the other end of the phone actually represents a legitimate business that is trying to help them get out of debt.
Many people immediately assume that someone who carries a lot of credit card debt is an irresponsible person, or that they simply don't understand "the concept of money." To be fair, these stereotypes could be true of some people. But there are many people out there who are carrying credit card debt because they had to make an unexpected or extreme purchase for their livelihood, or for the betterment of a loved one.
A new report on credit card debt in the United States has been released, and the numbers do not paint a pretty picture. According to the new report, Americans paid off $32.5 billion in outstanding credit card debt in the first three months of 2014. You may read that figure and think that this represents a major achievement -- but it's 1 percent less than was paid in the same timeframe in 2013 and 5 percent less than the same timeframe in 2012.
It is easy to think that people who carry significant credit card debt are bad with their money. Many people may assume that these debt carriers simply can't curb their personal spending habits, or that they can't recognize when they need to save their money for a more important time.
Did you know that the total amount of student debt in this country has reached $1.2 trillion? That figure represents a total that is nearly double the amount of credit card debt in the country ($0.68 trillion) and far surpasses the amount of auto loan debt in the country ($0.86 trillion). As if those figures aren't staggering enough, the $1.2 trillion in student debt -- which represents the 2013 total -- is more than triple the amount of student debt this country had just eight years ago in 2005 ($0.36 trillion).
There is some uplifting news in the world of credit card debt -- if you can believe that. Gallup performed a random credit card poll on 1,026 adults. There were some crucial findings from this poll, the first of which is that 29 percent of Americans do not own any credit cards, which is the highest rate since 2001. In addition, the average number of credit cards that a card-carrying American owned is 3.7, which is less than what was reported in 2001.