What is debt? Debt is any amount of money owed to another person or company. Whether it’s a credit card to your favorite clothing stores or home loan for the house of your dreams. It’s all debt, big and small, and Americans are eating it up. Many Americans owe more than they should, which begs the question: What are the main reasons people go into debt? And perhaps, more importantly, how can we avoid it?

HOME LOANS

Shelter is a need for everyone, but do we really need a house THAT big? Or an apartment in the heart of the historical district? Location is everything says the real estate mantra, but is it really worth going into debt for?  With Americans borrowing almost $13.3 trillion by the middle of last year, it’s a significant increase over just a year ago.  While yes, it’s understandable that the American dream of home ownership might come with a mortgage, it doesn’t have to be so high. We need to learn to live below our means, not stretched to the nth degree of it.

CAR LOANS

Much like a home, a car is a necessity in most major cities, and definitely in the rural areas of the country where there is no public transport. However, the amount drivers are racking up averages approximately $31k for a new car and $21k for a used.  This makes for a monthly payment between $400-500.00! This is a crazy amount of money for people on a tight budget to pay. Instead, they could have smaller loans for less expensive cars that run just as well as the higher-priced new ones. There should be no more of this “keeping up with the Joneses” and instead, an emphasis should be placed on getting out of debt.

EDUCATION

Nationwide, industry averages show Americans owe $1.53 TRILLION in debt according to most recent statistics. Now some might argue it’s a noble debt, one certainly justified. But truly, how noble is it to go into that much debt over a 4-year degree? Is one school truly that much better than another when they both offer the same BS/BA degree? Instead, students could take a year or two off from school, live at home and work, socking away the money needed to pay tuition. They could go to a community college for the first two years saving thousands of dollars before transferring to a higher costing 4-year school.

All debt is not bad, but consumers should make wise buying decisions before taking on debt that will stick with them for years, or should I say decades. For those people who cannot seem to get out from under the debt cloud, a consultation from National Debt Review could be in order. Firms like these help consumers pay off their debt with consolidation loans. You can’t put mortgages or car loans into the consolidation, but you can bundle together most of your credit card and medical bills.

But don’t jump into a debt consolidation quickly. Always remember to read over the fine print carefully and make certain you review and understand all of the details of the consolidation process before signing. Debt settlement should only be used as a last resort for those who are delinquent or struggling to make minimum payments on unsecured debts and have exhausted all other options. Debt settlement is risky. It can cause your credit score to plummet it can also result in higher interest and fees if the debt settlement fails.

Once you get out of debt do your best to avoid the vicious cycle of getting into debt again. If you’re ready to turn your financial life around, consult experts who know the ins and out of the financial industry. The best financial advice is to avoid incurring debt in the first place. Begin to understand your temptations for buying and do your best to avoid things you want but don’t need.