Given that CardHub is a national credit card comparison website, readers might willingly posit a bit of credence in statements made by its officials about the national economy. After all, they are insiders in an industry that tracks Americans’ spending and debt-accumulation habits like no other.
And what those officials are saying is both notable and a bit alarming, to wit: Credit card debt is progressively increasing nationally and fast approaching what CardHub terms an “unsustainable level.”
What that means is this: Many consumers need to dial back on their card use quickly and materially or risk going past what CardHub says is a “tipping point.”
That point is $8,300, which was the average amount owed by American households on their credit cards in 2008. As many readers likely remember, delinquency rates spiked — CardHub says “skyrocketed” — at that juncture.
Right now, the average household has incurred about $7,100. Although that is appreciably short of the 2008 number, it is reflective of a pattern, namely this: Amounts owed on credit cards have reportedly and in the aggregate now increased for six quarters in a row.
Suddenly, and given that clear trend, the problematic $8,300 figure doesn’t look that remote.
One CardHub spokesperson points to a growing optimism among many consumers that she says is centrally contributing to increased card use. She states that it is making many people “trigger-happy to spend.”
And that is of course a good thing, within limits, since expenditures fuel purchases of essential items that help grow the national economy.
For some consumers, though, it becomes hard to gauge a debt level that qualifies as high-risk and will almost certainly create problems down the road.
One financial adviser has some ready advice for people who are starting to test the limits on their cards.
“Stop spending,” he says.
Although that is sage advice, of course, it is hard for many consumers to know the precise point at which they should turn off the spigot.
And when it’s too late, well, it’s too late.
Persons with questions or concerns regarding their present debt levels or their increased difficulty in staying current on their payment obligations might want to have a candid and confidential conversation with a proven debt-relief attorney.