Making six figures? Here’s why you still have credit card debt
People with six-figure salaries still often carry credit card debt, according to a survey from Bankrate.com.
The site found 46% of adults with a net worth of $100,000 or more were carrying credit card debt, compared to 40% of those with a negative net worth.
Analyst Ted Rossman said it stands to reason that people who make a lot of money, tend to spend a lot of money, but he still didn't expect the result.
Among those with a net worth of $100,000 or more who have credit card debt, 58% owe at least $2,500 and 39% owe at least $5,000, according to the survey.
The most common reason for accumulating credit card debt is day-to-day expenses, followed by retail purchases, car repairs and medical debt, the survey found.
Rossman blames credit card debt among those with high net worth on three things: lifestyle creep, access to credit and home ownership.
Lifestyle creep: The more someone earns, the more someone has, the more someone spends, he said.
Access to credit: People who have more income and more assets have more opportunities to get credit cards — but often spend beyond their means, Rossman said.
Home ownership: Rossman said he thinks people who have six-figure net worths may have so much of that money tied up in their homes they don't have enough to pay the bills.
Rossman said credit card rates are so high, ranging from 17% to 25%, "It doesn't make sense to finance a fancy lifestyle with credit card debt. That's costing you a lot of money over time and risking your financial stability."
Any dollar put toward that debt is going to save someone between 15% and 25% in interest, he said. He suggested getting a balance transfer at a promotional low rate, getting a side hustle to make more money, cutting out expenses and making paying down credit card debt a top priority.
Adults worth more than $1 million are the least likely to carry credit card debt. Rossman said that makes sense, but even in that group, 21% were burdened with credit card debt. He thought this was a surprisingly high number.
Credit card debt is the most common type of debt that adults carry (42%) followed by car loans and leases (27%), mortgages (26%) and student loans (16%), the survey said.
51% of Generation Xers (ages 39-54) carry credit card debt, and are the most likely to carry other debt as well, Rossman said.
Emergency and day-to-day expenses account for about 60% of people in credit card jams, the survey found.
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