May 2011: Debt

Financial Security Index survey chart

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How do you feel about the amount of debt you have compared to 12 months ago?

  • There was slight improvement from April, with the percentage of respondents who feel more comfortable rising 4 percent and the percentage less comfortable down 4 percent.
  • Respondents aged 18 to 29 years old were most likely to be less comfortable, at 26 percent, versus just 17 percent of respondents 65 and older.
  • Among college graduates, 31 percent were more comfortable with debt levels, up from 26 percent in April.

People still have (a) numb feeling (about) their debt levels.

Julie Murphy Casserly, CFP

President of JMC Wealth Management, Chicago

I have not seen peoples' debt levels come down that significantly. People are trying to be more proactive with their debt level, but they are not doing anything about planning for emergencies, (or) using cash as opposed to creating more debt. That is how they stay in the debt cycle. The only people who have changed their behavior are the ones who took a severe hit. They were the ones laid off for 14 months, but that is not the majority of people. The people who had a significant consequence have been the only ones who have really shifted.

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