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Americans are no strangers to credit card debt

Credit cards may have gotten many people in Long Island through a tough financial time, when an unexpected expense arose that they otherwise could not pay for. It may have been a medical bill, a car repair, a new water heater or any other number of expenses. Unfortunately, these expenses can add up, leading to unmanageable credit card debt.

According to data recently collected by ValuePenguin, the average American household carries $5,700 in credit card debt. Younger Americans along with those age 75 and up carry the least amount of credit card debt. For example, on average, those under age 35 carry $5,808 in credit card debt. Those between the ages of 35 to 44 carry $8,235 in credit card debt. Those between the ages of 45 to 54 carry $9,096 in credit card debt. Those between the ages of 55 to 64 carry $8,158 in credit card debt. Those between the ages of 65 to 69 carry $6,876 in credit card debt. Those between the ages of 70 to 74 carry $6,465 in credit card debt. Finally, those age 75 and older carry $5,638 in credit card debt.

One reason for the spike in credit card debt among middle age respondents may be the college expenses they incur as their children grow older. On a sobering note: it looks like many Americans will not be retiring debt-free. In fact, credit card debt is not an issue just for low-income households. According to the data, households earning above $160,000 carried a credit card balance of at least $11,200 on average.

So, what can be done in the face of such mounting debt? Being unable to pay your credit cards only becomes more emotionally and financially difficult as higher and higher amounts of interest accumulate. But, one of the first things you can do in such a situation is mentally commit to paying off your credit card debt, no matter what. Then, some experts recommend paying off the card with the highest interest rate first and then move on down the line. Another option might be transferring a high-interest credit card balance to a card that has a lower interest rate.

In the end, while it may take some work, it may be possible to pay down your credit card debt. However, despite all of this, some in Long Island may find that they simply have too much credit card debt, when combined with their other debts. These individuals may want to learn more about filing for bankruptcy as a means of debt relief.

Source: The Motley Fool, "Can You Guess How Much Credit Card Debt the Average Household Has?," Maurie Backman, Sept. 26, 2016

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