Are we OK? The state of credit and debt in the US.

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It’s hard to believe that 2021 is almost in the books, as the days keep whizzing by. But before we enjoy the autumn and then the holiday season in 2021, I wanted to take a snapshot of where we are in terms of our credit and debt.

Debt is hardly something we think about anymore, since record-low interest rates and easy money from the banks makes it an area of little concern. However, as rates soon rise amid pandemic-era rollbacks and a hedge against growing inflation (and they have nowhere to go but up!), those credit card monthly payments and auto loans will start to swell.

Pretty soon, our debt will start to be a thorn in our side again, if not a downright impediment to savings, investing, and retiring as planned.

You may want to formulate a plan to start paying down your balances now, before they come back to bite you!

So, let’s take a look at exactly where we are with credit cards, auto loans, student loans, mortgages, and more in Q4 of 2021.


Credit Scores

The average FICO Score is now 711.

That’s a significant increase from 706 in 2019, 705 in 2018, and 699 in 2016, and an all-time high.

BY state, Minnesotans have the highest average FICO Score (739), while Mississippi residents have the lowest average scores (675). Californians are middle-of-the-pack with credit scores at #26, at an average FICO of 716 – well above the national average.


Credit Cards

For those consumers who have credit cards, the average family balance is $6,270.

It’s interesting to note that not everyone keeps credit card debt, or even the majority of families. In fact, only 45.5% of families carry some sort of credit card debt now.

By state, Alaska has the highest average credit card debt per family, while California is firmly in the middle of the pack of states, ranking as the 26th highest in average debt.

Add it all up, and Americans owe $820 billion on our credit cards.


Personal Loans

Among consumers who have personal loans, the average balance is $16,458.

In fact, personal loans have been the fastest growing form of debt in the past couple of years!

U.S. consumers now owe $323 billion in personal loans, which is a 6% increase since just the year prior.


Student Loans

The average college graduate with student loans owes $38,792, a huge sum. Among the 42.9 million Americans who have balances on education loans, a total of 1.57 trillion is still owed in federal education loans alone.


Auto Loans

For those consumers who finance their auto purchases, the average car loan is $19,703. While that may not sound like an overwhelming loan balance per person, auto loans are now at the $1.36 trillion mark, about double what it was just 10 years ago!

For reference, $1.36 trillion is enough to buy 59 million Toyota Camrys at $23,000 each!



The average homeowner with a mortgage still owes $208,185.

For California residents, that average mortgage balances now sit at $371,981.

With approximately 56.1 million mortgages still unpaid across the U.S., that adds up to a total of $10.3 trillion in outstanding mortgage debt.


Total Consumer Debt

Total outstanding U.S. consumer debt is now $14.9 trillion. That includes credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, mortgages, and student loans.

That figure is also up $414 billion from a year earlier and far surpassing the previous record consumer debt of 12.68 trillion in 2008.


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