Many people see debt as a necessary evil, but it still is possible to live—and thrive—without using debt or worrying about your credit scores. The benefits of debt-free living are easy to understand, but it's important to know what challenges you'll face and how to overcome them if you stop playing using credit.
It might appear impossible, but many consumers succeed in living their entire lives without any debt. People of a variety of ages and income levels have made this choice. It's not an easy feat, but if it's something you truly want, don't let naysayers talk you out of it.
Without debt, you can focus on building more savings, investing those extra funds and just simply having more peace of mind about your finances. Paying off all your debt, however, doesn't always make sense.
Living a debt-free lifestyle can save you money and allow you to also start saving toward your financial goals. It also can help lower your credit score as well as your stress levels. Living debt-free starts with paying down debt.
With no more debts to pay off, you get to experience what your paycheck actually feels like without the burden of debt payments every month. As a result, you'll have a lot more money to save, spend, or invest going forward. At first, you may even feel rich!
“Shark Tank” investor Kevin O'Leary has said the ideal age to be debt-free is 45, especially if you want to retire by age 60. Being debt-free — including paying off your mortgage — by your mid-40s puts you on the early path toward success, O'Leary argued.
Here's the average debt balances by age group: Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $9,593. Millennials (ages 24 to 39): $78,396. Gen X (ages 40 to 55): $135,841.
A shocking 77% of Americans have some type of debt—that's nearly 8 out of every 10 people! And how many times have you heard one of these money myths: You need to have a good credit score!
Our recommendation is to prioritize paying down significant debt while making small contributions to your savings. Once you've paid off your debt, you can then more aggressively build your savings by contributing the full amount you were previously paying each month toward debt.
Option 1: Pay off the highest-interest debt first
Best for: Minimizing the amount of interest you pay. There's a good reason to pay off your highest interest debt first — it's the debt that's charging you the most interest.
By age 25, you should have saved at least 0.5X your annual expenses. The more the better. In other words, if you spend $50,000 a year, you should have about $25,000 in savings. If you spend $100,000 a year, you should have at least $50,000 in savings.
If you have credit card debt, you're not alone. On average, Americans carry $6,194 in credit card debt, according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review. And Alaskans have the highest credit card balance, on average $8,026.
Former Société Générale rogue trader Jérôme Kerviel owes the bank $6.3 billion.
Even though household net worth is on the rise in America (at $141 trillion in the summer of 2021)—so is debt. The total personal debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high of $14.96 trillion. The average American debt (per U.S. adult) is $58,604 and 77% of American households have at least some type of debt.
Generally speaking, a good debt-to-income ratio is anything less than or equal to 36%. Meanwhile, any ratio above 43% is considered too high.
This generation is not only saddled with the highest mortgage debt of all the age groups but they also owe the most debt. In a recent study by Go Banking Rates, they found that 46% of this generation carries credit balances with an average of $4000 or more.
While most millennials have accrued a large amount of debt, the bulk of millennials, 63 percent, believe that they can pay it off over the next one to five years.
Debt is normal – but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do something about it. There were a variety of debts featured in the report. Overdrafts, mail order bills, hire purchase agreements, the average household seems to owe a lot of money to many different lenders.
The average credit card debt for 30 year olds is roughly $4,200, according to the Experian data report.
You may have heard carrying a balance is beneficial to your credit score, so wouldn't it be better to pay off your debt slowly? The answer in almost all cases is no. Paying off credit card debt as quickly as possible will save you money in interest but also help keep your credit in good shape.
So, it should come as no surprise that homeowners put down roots here (literally and figuratively). Roughly 48 percent (47.9, to be exact) of all owner-occupied homes are mortgage-free.
There are countries such as Jersey and Guernsey which have no national debt, so the pay no interest. All this started with the Napoleonic wars when the government borrowed money to fund the war.
There is only one “debt-free” country as per the IMF database. For many countries, the unusually low national debt could be due to failing to report actual figures to the IMF.
It's not at all uncommon for households to be swimming in more that twice as much credit card debt. But just because a $15,000 balance isn't rare doesn't mean it's a good thing. Credit card debt is seriously expensive. Most credit cards charge between 15% and 29% interest, so paying down that debt should be a priority.