Will Credit Be Our Undoing?

by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor

MUCH HAS BEEN written about the next economic bubble. Of course we all know the most recent ones in high tech, banking, and real estate. Now we are seeing speculative articles on what is next. Car prices, another real estate boom, another high tech led by Apple, Google, etc.

Perhaps, but I am more inclined to think the next economic crisis will be led by credit issues. It is easy to ignore the sky rocketing national debt and our addiction to deficit spending. That is too far removed from our daily lives and the numbers are so huge that they really aren’t in our realm of comprehension. But, on a more individual scale the credit issue is becoming quite alarming.

The household credit card debt increased over 57 billion dollars in 2014. Student debt is at an all time high and growing rapidly. The increase in new car sales has been largely fueled by longer term financing, with a huge increase in 60–72 month loans. When it comes time to trade those cars and trucks they won’t be worth the remaining debt. So then with many homes still upside down, people will have negative net worth in the vehicles too.

To further compound the debt issue many middle aged couples are faced with a hard choice. For those that have disposable income do they help with college costs, pay down their own debt, or save for retirement? Turning to the “experts” is of little help as they don’t agree on what course is best to follow. Certainly there is no one size fits all plan, but reducing debt has to be a significant part of any plan in my opinion.

Weathering the next economic downturn, and there is sure to be one, will be much easier if one has little or no debt.