Are you more likely to have more debt according to what state you live in? In a recent report done by Experian on the debt averages per state, the answer is yes! The report, compiled from approximately 3 million consumers nationwide, shows that the North East states of New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island have the highest average overall debt in the nation of $16,845, $15,314 and $14,643. The report measures overall debt of a consumer; everything present on a credit report, including credit cards and installment debts but excluding mortgage debt. Massachusetts, Maine and Delaware also followed closely behind the top three.
The states listed with the lowest average debt were Mississippi, Washington D.C., and Oklahoma. These states reported around half of the debt of the northern states with $8,420, $8,655 and $8,823. So what factors make the debt averages so different between these states? Cost of living plays a role with the higher cost of living in the New England and coastal areas versus the South and Midwest areas.
Another contributing factor is the low mortgage rates and availability of credit. The ease of acquiring credit leads consumers to purchase luxuries on a buy-now, pay-later basis when they otherwise may not have purchased at that time. The Federal Reserve reports that Americans spend half of the money they acquire from refinancing their homes on vacations and home improvements.
The report from Experian also recorded the average debt by age groups, concluding that Americans in the age groups 40-49 and 50-59 showed the highest amount of debt. Experian analysts, explaining that as age increases, people are building their lifestyle, explain this as "sensible". It seems backwards in my opinion. It would make more sense if those approaching retirement age would concentrate on eliminating their debt. It doesn't seem like a high priority to prepare for the years when they won't have their regular income and savings will carry them through retirement.
Any debt that includes interest is compounded by that interest. Consumers end up paying two to three times the original purchase price once interest is included. Credit scores even seem to condone high rates of debt. It's common to see a consumer with a high debt ratio with excellent credit even though they may be maxed out on what they can spend and what they owe. More debt can mean better credit.
Consider the possibility of being debt free. When it comes time to retire and your income is limited, you will own everything that you have. If an emergency arises you will have the resources, such as credit cards or savings, to pay cash instead of taking on higher monthly payments. Also, when you buy something with cash, you actually own it. Credit purchases are only yours when you are done paying for them, regardless of when you take them home.
The simplest way to eliminate your debt and high interest payments is to pay them off. As an annuity recipient you are receiving your money over a number of years. While you are waiting for your payments, you are paying interest on all of your debts. Consider selling your annuity for the cash you deserve now. With an advance on your future payments you can eliminate your debt and high interest payments that leave you paying much more for everything you have. Consult a financial professional and an attorney for advice on your annuity. You can experience the freedom of being debt free and owning everything you have.
Jason M. Rigler
Cash now for future payments