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Are Americans underreporting their credit card debt?

by | Mar 3, 2016 | Credit Card Debt

How many people do you think would readily admit that they are struggling under a mountain of credit card debt? You might think that your friends and relatives would be perfectly honest about their financial situations, trials and tribulations but, in reality, a new study shows that Americans tend to underreport the amount of debt that they are carrying.

NerdWallet recently reported that consumers reporting that they have $415 billion less debt than they actually have. In December 2013, lenders say that they had lent out approximately $683 billion in credit card debt. However, when borrowers were surveyed, they only said that they had borrowed about $268 billion.

This is an unbelievable discrepancy. If you are one of the millions of people with more credit card debt than you can conceivably afford, do not feel like you are alone in suffering from the problem — even if your friends say that they are doing just fine. They might not be reporting their credit card debt to you accurately.

According to NerdWallet, the discrepancy in reporting credit car debt is probably because most Americans are shy to divulge their true financial circumstances. There is quite a bit of stigma attached to borrowing more money than you can afford. Furthermore, there is quite a bit of stigma attached to not meeting a certain level of financial success. This is also part of he reason for all the problems with credit card debt in our country — people are spending more money than they have in order to artificially appear more affluent.

The important take-away message from all this is: Credit card debt problems are more widespread among Americans than they might immediately appear. If you are one of the people who are struggling remember that — depending on your particular debt situation — you might be able to resolve your debt problems through the bankruptcy process.

Source: USA Today, “Embarrassed Americans underreport credit card debt by $415 billion,” Erin El Issa, accessed March 03, 2016


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