Burdened by debt? You're far from alone.
The financial crisis left millions of American families struggling with their own personal debt crises. Today, in a country where so many U.S. families live a financial shock away from poverty, more than half of families are struggling with more than $75,000 worth of debt. All that consumer debt adds up, totaling $11.5 trillion nationwide, according to a recent Federal Reserve report.
Even among twenty-somethings, those young adults just starting their adult lives, the problem is severe. Their average debt burden is now $45,000, according to recent survey from PNC Bank.
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With so many Americans unemployed thanks to the financial crisis, digging out of that debt could take years. Compounding the problem is the debt collection itself.
Debt collector complaints to the Federal Trade Commission spiked 17 percent in 2010 from the year before, according to USA Today. In response, the agency has aimed to crack down on a variety of debt collectors across the country that have used lies, threats and intimidation to get borrowers to pay up.
But this isn't a problem born entirely out of the recession. Already by 2007, American households had collectively borrowed 127 percent of their incomes to go to school, buy homes and cars and other items. That's up from an average of 84 percent in the 1990s.
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