Even though we know we need it in our lives

Surprising no one, most of us are really not great with money. But we’re kind of working on it.

Credit counseling company Affirm says two-thirds of young adults (22-44 years old) have an actual fear of debt, even though they constantly plan their spending.

“While a large percentage of consumers worry about the mismanagement of credit cards, they are simultaneously open to a healthy amount of debt,” the report says.

The survey of more than 1,000 Americans says 32 percent of them are scared of debt because they don’t know how long it will take to pay off. Also among the findings:

  • 93 percent plan their spending weekly, twice a month, or monthly
  • 86 percent of respondents have at least one credit card
  • 31 percent have three or more credit cards
  • 57 percent of respondents who said they are carrying a credit card balance have at least $1,000 in credit card debt

Despite the heavy credit card use, the report says it’s not the only option among younger adults. More than one third — 36 percent — of non-credit card users prefer to pay with cash and 29 percent are “afraid they’ll spend more than they can afford.” More than half of non-credit card users said they want to build credit, however.

Expenses are climbing, but are we smarter about money?

Costs of living are up — like food and housing — and worries about another recession are also rising. The good news is that if we did have another recession, we’re in a better place financially than we were a decade ago. Our average debt is lower, but credit card interest rates are going up.

For some, income is going up as well. Just not as fast as the cost of living. Be sure to keep your money in check regardless of how much (or little) you’re making.

When it comes to money smarts, most of us aren’t doing too well with it. Last month, Champlain College released their first in-depth study on financial literacy. No state in the country earned an “A.” Four got an A-, half got a C or worse.

Twelve states, mostly in the South, make up one-quarter of the U.S. population and had a D+ or worse. Less than half of the population lives in passing grade states, which means most of us live in financially illiterate states.

It’s not just a misunderstanding about money — we’re also pretty stressed about it, regardless of our understanding of it.

Most Americans don’t believe they are working well to live within their means and that has a huge impact on our overall well-being. When our money isn’t right, our minds aren’t, either.

If you want to be happier and smarter, you’ll need to change your mind about money. Our Education Center has a bunch of different ways for you to keep your money goals on track (or make goals if you haven’t done so yet!) Don’t be discouraged. It’s never too late.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Credit & Debt

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Article last modified on December 22, 2017 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Most of Us Fear Debt - AMP.