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While the average Joe and Jane don't worry much about the national debt, which now stands above $8 trillion, they're plenty worried about their family debt.

Credit card debt alone totals about $800 billion -- about $8,500 per family -- up more than 100 percent over the previous 10 years.

Falling into serious debt can have an enormous impact on our lives and for generations to come. Where do you stand?

Credit in our lives

America's road to debt is paved in plastic -- Americans are in "debt denial," claiming they're good at handling money, yet concerned about not being able to pay their monthly credit card bills.

Bad credit hurts in many ways -- It's not just your mortgage payment and credit card rate anymore: Shaky credit will cost you when it comes to things like auto, home and renters insurance.

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What a difference a score makes -- Haunted by the infamous 619 credit score? See how much better your life would be at 719.

Are you a subprime borrower? -- Getting labeled with this term will hurt you when it comes to get a loan. The good news is it will probably mean you will, in fact, get a loan.

Do you have good debt or bad debt? -- A mortgage is usually good debt. Buying more clothes you don't need on credit is not.

Credit scoring: How it works -- You probably know what an impact your credit score can have on yor life, but do you know how it's computed?

25 need-to-know credit scoring terms -- A guide to translating the language used in credit reports and credit scores.

New scoring tools empower credit weaklings -- Lenders have started using nontraditional scoring methods to tap into a huge market of Americans with little or no credit history.

'05 Debt Credit Guide
 Credit in our lives
 Road to ruin

Compare Rates
$30K HELOC 4.74%
Personal loan 15.53%
$30K Home equity loan 5.25%
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