Despite the lingering effects of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, consumers are ramping up their borrowing. While much of the recent increase is due to auto and student loans, credit cards are providing an extra pain for those in their golden years.
Consumer credit in the United States rose more than $18 billion to a seasonally adjusted $2.8 trillion in February, according to the latest Federal Reserve report. It was the biggest jump in half a year and well above estimates calling for a $15 billion gain. Revolving credit, which mainly consists of credit-card debt, increased $532.82 billion to about $848 billion outstanding.
Debt has come to be a way of life for Americans, but the older generation is accumulating more credit-card debt than others. A new report by the AARP’s Public Policy Institute and the research organization Demos shows that those over the age of 50 carried an average credit-card balance of $8,278. In comparison, the average balance for those under 50 years old was $6,258.
Expenses are on the rise…