Debt is a Fact of Life for 70 Percent of Americans

Struggling with credit card or other forms of debt? You’re not alone.

Debt is a buzzword for politicians, a burden for students and a fact of life for 70% of Americans. According to a recent survey, one in four adults feel financial hardship as a result of their debt.

Debt is holding Americans back from financial independence.Fifth Third Bank commissioned the study to examine the financial beliefs and behaviors of American adults. The survey also revealed how millennials, generation X and baby boomers differ in their debt management.

Credit card debt threatens financial security

According to the study, Americans cite credit card debt more often than any other form of debt. Of those respondents that have debt:

  • 62% have credit card payments
  • 32% have car loans
  • 29% have home loans
  • 19% have medical bills
  • 19% have student loans
  • 13% have personal loans

Debt reflects the priorities of each generation

While credit card payments were the top identified debt across all age groups, the second highest debt for each generation reveals interesting insights into their priorities.

  • 39% of millennials have student loan debt.
  • 37% of generation X respondents are paying off car loans.
  • 34% of baby boomers are still in debt for their mortgage.

“Climbing out of debt can feel overwhelming to even the most disciplined consumer,” says Jada Grandy, senior vice president and Community Reinvestment Act strategies director at Fifth Third Bank.

“My best advice is this: set a goal and stick to it,” she notes. “Think of your fixed and variable expenses as ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’. You have to be incredibly disciplined, but you can live a debt-free life.”

The Bank has published its Top Ten Steps to Financial Empowerment at to help Americans become, or remain, debt-free. Fifth Third is committed to financial empowerment and offers its free L.I.F.E. (Lives Improved through Financial Empowerment®) programs to consumers through many ages and stages of life.


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About Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Company has $141 billion assets and operates 1,254 full-service Banking Centers, including 95 Bank Mart® locations, most open seven days a week, inside select grocery stores and 2,593 ATMs  in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia,Pennsylvania, Missouri, Georgia and North Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, and Investment Advisors.

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