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Research and Statistics

Reality bites: Gen-Xers carry heaviest debt load

After amassing debt in their 40s, Gen-Xers outgrow heavy credit use, according to Experian data

Summary

New data from Experian shows Generation X is shouldering a heavier debt burden than any other generation. But after getting through the peak debt years in their 40s, Gen Xers start to outgrow their heavy credit dependence.

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Across all types of debt except one, Generation X is shouldering a heavier debt burden than any other generation. But after getting through the peak debt years in their 40s, Gen Xers start to outgrow their heavy credit dependence.

According to Experian data from the last quarter of 2018, Americans age 39 to 54 have a higher average balance on credit cards, auto loans, student loans and mortgages than older and younger generations.

They were only outdone in personal loans, where baby boomers have an average balance of $19,403 vs. Gen X’s $17,277 average. But Gen X still carried a higher personal loan average than the population average ($16,249).

See related:  Gen X most anxious about retirement

Across credit cards, auto loans and student loans, Gen Xers held $2,000 to $4,000 more than the total population in each category, and when adding up all debt, Generation X’s $134,323 average balance dwarfs the $93,446 national average.

Experian’s data also shows that Americans’ total debt builds up until about age 43 or 44, hovers around that peak level for four to five more years, and then starts tapering off around age 50. It then drops significantly with each subsequent year.

Experian’s analysis was based on statistically relevant aggregate sampling of its consumer credit database for 2018’s 4th quarter, with findings released April 3.

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Published: May 30, 2019

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