Well, if you believe the national average. Just to top it off, some 37%, or $3,109 of that debt is credit-card debt.
Just so we're clear on the concept here, that's debt on consumable, non-investment assets that depreciate, not appreciate. Consumer debt includes money from credit card debt, store-financed consumer purchases, car loans, and family loans that are supposed to be repaid. I'm not talking about your house mortgage here.
In case you've got your calculator out, this debt totals $2.55 trillion. To put it in perspective, the federal government's debt is about $9 trillion. Collectively, the residents of the US carry just a little bit less than one-third of the federal government's debt.
The one difference: we can't print money.
According to a Columbus Dispatch editorial, it's worse for younger Americans: "College-educated young adults are saddled with an average of $21,000 in student loans. And they've grown up in a have-it-all-now culture, in which living on credit is the norm. People ages 25 to 34 spend an average 16 percent more than they earn, Fast Company magazine reported in December."
But don't be smug if you're older. Likewise according to the editorial, older folks are turning to their "401(k) retirement savings accounts to pay off credit-card debt and to meet other ordinary expenses. Retirement-plan administrators saw a 17 percent jump in the number of workers in 2007 asking to withdraw their money prematurely."
What's the message here?