About 73% of those in America will die in debt, found research by Credit.com.
Usually, it will be our creditors who get stuck. Not our families.
For example, if the credit card is only in our name, the balance due vanishes when we die. Where debt will linger is when others co-sign.
Also private student loans, as opposed to federal ones, remain. Those creditors will go after our estate, if any.
The amount of debt may seem surprising.
If we have a mortgage the pile-up will be $61,554. Without a mortgage, it will be $12,875. Most often, the Big4 debts will be because of (in descending order):
Personal loan or loans
Unlike our early 20th-century relatives who shunned debt and always paid cash, we feel little or no stigma about carrying debt.
Although the shame is lessening, living with debt still comes with plenty of negatives.
For example, if we don't pay down each bit of debt on-time, our credit rating takes a hit. That raises the interest rate when we make those major purchases like a house. We might not even be able to rent an apartment.
If we actually miss some payments, our car could be repossessed during the night. The house could go into foreclosure. We might have to file for bankruptcy. If we do, we may be blocked from being hired in some fields such as financial services.
Meanwhile, the phone could ring hounding us to pay up.
In 2016, I paid off the last of the six-figure debt I had acquired when my communications boutique and investments crashed around the turn of the century. Monthly I now pay off the full balance on credit cards.
But, given the current value system that debt is okay, I didn't wind up with a sense of having achieved something virtuous. The only change in my life was not having to keep up with all those bills. Snail mail became the box of horrors.
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