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Sliver of Americans Expect to Still Owe When They Go – Less This Year Thanks to Economy

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One of ten U.S. adults with debt expect to die in debt, down from 21% about a year ago.

A new study finds 24% of American adults say they are currently debt-free, the highest reading in the three consecutive years. In December 2014, just 14% said they were debt-free. This refers to all types of debt: credit cards, car loans, student loans, mortgages, etc. 

The research conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates for credit card dealer BankRate.com and its CreditCards.com division, also found

• 28% of those age 65 and older never expect to get out of debt (down from 35% in November 2015)

• 14% of those between the ages of 50 and 64 never expect to get out of debt (down from 24% in November 2015)

• 11% of those between the ages of 30 and 49 never expect to get out of debt (down from 19% in November 2015)

• 4% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 never expect to get out of debt (down from 11% in November 2015)

While the election of Donald Trump is scaring the bejesus out of the majority of working stiffs
only 12% of Republicans and 11% of independents surveyed say they will never get out of debt – down from 25% and 21% in late 2015, respectively.

Meanwhile, the portion of Democrats who say they will die in debt fell from 14% in late 2015 to 10% now.

Most debtors say they would be responsible with the extra money if their debt was magically erased today. 72% would put the windfall toward some sort of savings, led by retirement (32%) and followed by emergency expenses (15%), a new home (14%) and a college fund (12%). Just 6% would splurge on a vacation or other big-ticket item.

The allure of keeping up with the Joneses seems to be fading: Only 9% of U.S. adults report more debt than their closest friends and family. 48% say they have less debt and 37% believe they have about the same amount.

In 2016, over 35 million visitors to CreditCards.com reviewed a limited number of credit cards paying the Bankrate website bounties to sign-up customers.

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