U.S. millennials more likely to incur holiday credit card debt

U.S. Millennials are more likely to splurge on credit card payments this upcoming holiday period, according to a recent report. CreditCards.com says 60 per cent of millennials are willing to go into debt this holiday shopping season, more so than Baby Boomers and Gen Xers.

“Credit card debt is easy to get into and hard to get out of. The meaning of this data is not to go all Scrooge and say well you can’t buy any gifts, you can’t travel and you can’t do anything. You can do those things. You just need to either plan throughout the year, set money aside, get one of these balance transfer cards, maybe take on a side hustle,” says industry analyst Ted Rossman.

The survey of 2,571 U.S. adults was conducted between Oct 2 and 4, 2019 with 52 per cent of the respondents between the ages of 24 and 35. Of note, 46 per cent of the sample said they take on holiday debt to please a family member or a friend. Men were more likely to incur credit card debt compared to women.

‘…more than half of millennials have credit card debt and it reflects a financial reality other generations didn’t face.’

— Business Insider

So what are millennials maxing their credit cards on? Restaurants, travel, transportation and big box stores. According to influential financial publication, Business Insider, more than half of millennials have credit card debt and it reflects a financial reality other generations didn’t face. A Business Insider survey revealed that of the 51.5 per cent of millennials who have credit card debt, 67.4 per cent are stressed. Of the 54.5 per cent of GenX who have credit card debt, 64.3 per cent are stressed.

‘As many as 40 per cent of millennials say their biggest source of debt is either credit cards or their mortgage, not their student loans.’

— Northwestern Mutual

According to a survey from Northwestern Mutual published as part of its annual Planning & Progress Study, despite credit cards being the biggest source of debt for one in four millennials, about 22 per cent don’t know the interest rate they’re being charged. As many as 40 per cent of millennials say their biggest source of debt is either credit cards or their mortgage, not their student loans. Millennials who carry debt report owing an average of US$27,900 in personal debt according to Northwestern Mutual.