The Associated Press has come out with a new poll showing that 46% of Americans are experiencing a significant level of stress caused by too much debt.
Families with total incomes under $50,000 per year have seen a sharp increase in their stress levels, although only a very small increase in actual debt levels. For those who make more than that, the situation is reversed — they are paying down debt slowly, but stress levels remain the same.
This poll fairly well replicates the situation of many consumers here in the Merrimack Valley who might be thinking about bankruptcy — people aren’t feeling very optimistic because the recovery just doesn’t feel like a recovery, especially job-wise: “It doesn’t feel much like a recovery to many people. Unemployment is at 9.9 percent. Many with a job have seen paychecks shrink. A growing number of people are at risk of falling into foreclosure, and only those with good credit can get a new loan.”
And although the Federal Reserve says that consumers are cutting debt at the fastest rate in almost 60 years, those numbers are skewed, because many people are “cutting debt” by walking away from mortgages and other underwater loans.
By Doug Beaton