Credit card debt is something many people use to make ends meet — even moreso when they’re being squeezed by stubbornly high inflation.
While some folks manage to never carry a balance and completely avoid paying interest charges, others struggle quite a bit to keep up. The Federal Reserve maintains data on the average credit card debt and breaks it down into different age brackets. This provides a generational snapshot of credit card debt over time.
Following is a look at the most recent average credit card debt for each group of working age individuals.
18- to 29-year-olds
Average credit card debt for this age bracket in Q3 2022: $1,708
Average credit card debt for this age bracket in Q3 2021: $1,347
Young adults fresh out of college, possibly looking for that first job, renting their first apartment, or buying their first car, don’t have access to as much credit as older Americans typically do. But they also tend to have less in savings and are often still learning good financial habits.
30- to 59-year-olds
Average credit card debt for this age bracket in Q3 2022: $4,412
Average credit card debt for this age bracket in Q3 2021: $3,812
This age bracket is full of people who’ve generally hit a stride in their career and enjoy higher incomes. They are often in a position to afford some of the more expensive and finer things in life — including children. That may mean leaning a little more heavily on the credit cards.
60- to 79-year-olds
Average credit card debt for this age bracket in Q3 2022: $3,284
Average credit card debt for this age bracket in Q3 2021: $3,034
Adults over age 60, if not retired yet, are probably looking forward to it. Many are chipping away at their mortgage and other debts in anticipation of reduced income and the chance for hard-earned, debt-free relaxation. But they may not be there as soon as they’d like.
How to manage credit card debt
Credit card debt can be a challenge at any age and at any income level. Paying it off requires planning and often some short-term sacrifice, but the strategies are the same for everyone, as we explain in “The Best Way to Kill Off Credit Card Debt.”
But sometimes people get in over their head, and it may be through no fault of their own. If you or somebody you know needs help managing their debt, visit the Money Talks News Solutions Center, where you’ll find free professional help.