Americans In Debt Interview with KRLD Radio Dallas
CreditCards.com Senior Industry Analyst Matt Schulz spoke on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 with Chris Sommer of KRLD Radio Dallas about the December 2015 Americans In Debt survey. The interview and transcript are below.
Chris Sommer: And some pretty scary numbers when it comes to debt. More and more Americans now expect to take their debts to the grave. Creditcards.com senior analyst Matt Schultz joins us live now on the KRLD news line from New York City, and Matt I know you’re ready to get back home to Texas.
Matt Schulz: I sure am, and thanks for having me.
Sommer: Thank you for coming on with us. So first off, just so everybody knows what we’re talking about, what sort of debts are mentioned in this survey, Matt?
Schulz: Yeah, this isn’t just credit card debt we’re talking about, student loans, mortgages, car loans, all the type of debt that people would typically have.
Sommer: Okay, so there’s good news and there’s bad news from what I’m reading here. Let’s start with the good. What percentage of Americans say they now have no debt whatsoever, and how does that compare to last year?
Schulz: Yeah, what we found is that 22% of all Americans said that they don’t have any debt at all, and that’s up from 14% last year, and that’s as you were saying is the good news. The bad news is that about one in five of Americans who have debt believe that they’re never going to be able to pay it off, and that’s a troubling split there.
Sommer: So it seems, just to the unframed eye, that some are really buckling down and getting all their debt paid off, and it seems like others are just falling further and further behind and maybe on the verge of giving up on it.
Schulz: Yeah, and really the most important thing for people to know is that they shouldn’t be hopeless in their debt, and that it’s so important to take some sort of action, whether you’re shifting that debt to a lower interest card or just making a budget or selling something that you have of value, take some sort of steps, take some sort of control, and it will help you feel better about your situation.
Sommer: We’re speaking with Matt Schultz from creditcards.com. Matt, something else that jumped out from this survey, the average age that Americans expect to be debt free, I’m getting closer to this number, so maybe it’s more interesting, but what age is that?
Schulz: Yeah, the average age that Americans expect to be out of debt is 54, and that’s basically about the same as we’ve seen in previous surveys.
Sommer: Anything else about this survey, Matt, that really jumped out, and my other question, those who believe they’re going to take their debts to the grave, what’s the first thing they should do?
Schulz: Well, the first thing they should do is take some sort of action, really even doing something like calling your credit card issuer and asking for a lower interest rate, because people don’t realize how often that could be successful, and that’s something that could really save you some money.
Sommer: Matt, have a safe flight home, and thanks for the time this afternoon. Good to talk to you. That’s Matt Schultz from creditcards.com.