Credit & Debt

Make it work for you, not against you

Carrying too much high-interest consumer debt is among the most common mistakes people make. It can put a strain on even the best-laid financial plan. And Americans owe a lot. Here are some statistics from a July 2009 survey by the Federal Reserve Board:
  • Consumer debt is $2.58 trillion.
  • Revolving consumer debt totals about $928 billion.
  • The average household carries $7,861 in credit card debt, a slight decrease from 2008.
  • Nearly 80 percent of American families have a credit card, and 44 percent of families carry a balance on their credit cards.
But not all debt is bad—sometimes it's even necessary. From credit cards to auto loans to home mortgages, debt is an important part of life. The key is to learn to manage it and not let it manage you.

Take control

What you can qualify to borrow is often more than what you should borrow. Here are some guidelines to help you manage credit and debt effectively:

How much do you pay in interest?

Add it up with the cost-of-debt calculator.

Want expert advice?

Get answers to real questions about managing credit and debt.

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The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax, legal or investment planning advice. Where specific advice is necessary or appropriate, consult with a qualified tax advisor, CPA, financial planner or investment manager.

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