Will Debt Ruin Your Retirement?

“Gold is the money of kings, silver is the money of gentlemen, barter is the money of peasants, but debt is the money of slaves,” writes Norm Franz in his book Money & Wealth in the New Millennium. Considering the amount of debt among Americans, the future could be one of servitude.

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression has led to fewer households holding some form of debt, but debt levels are increasing for those with it. According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 69 percent of households held debt in 2011, down from 74 percent in 2000. Credit card debt among households also declined from 51 percent to 38 percent during the same period.

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Despite the improvement, the median of household debt between 2000 and 2011 increased from $50,971 to $70,000 on an inflation-adjusted basis. The median debt amount divides households into two equal groups, one having debt less than $70,000 and the other having more.

Two kinds of debt rise rapidly…

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