Consumer confidence among Americans has risen in the decade since the financial collapse. With that increase in confidence comes more spending -- and more credit card debt. WalletHub has forecast that credit card debt will hit at least $1 trillion this year.
Credit card debt makes up "a relatively small piece of overall consumer obligations," according to an analyst with Moody's Analystics, Further, Americans' debt to disposable income ratio is lower than it's been in decades. However, we're using credit cards for more and more of our expenses.
While it used to be that consumers used plastic primarily for retail items and gasoline, it's become increasingly easier to put your utility payments, grocery purchases and other necessities like mortgage payments and rent on their credit cards.
A WalletHub analyst expressed concern that things could change, and not for the better. She says, "Something's got to give. Credit will begin to tighten up soon."
It's too early to know what impact the Trump administration and legislation under consideration by the new Congress (not to mention state legislators) will have on employment and the cost of living. Under the plan proposed by Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Up to 10 million people could find themselves without health insurance. Putting medical bills on credit cards could drive up credit card debt considerably.
Even if you've always been diligent about paying off your credit card bills in full each month, one unexpected calamity (a job loss, hospitalization, a car accident or damage to your home) is all it takes to put many Americans in serious financial straits. If you find yourself in that position, it's best to see legal and/or financial help sooner rather than later.
Source: CBS News, "U.S. credit card debt at highest level in a decade," Jonathan Berr, March 09, 2017