In February, Americans owed 8 billion in revolving debt (almost all in the form of credit card debt).
In the Credit poll, conducted March 28-30 by Gf K Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, 34 percent of respondents said they carry a balance, and 15 percent reported not having any credit cards.
"Before the recession, consumers were encouraged to carry debt, and spending was seen almost as a patriotic thing to do to stimulate the economy," said Michael Solomon, professor of marketing and director of the Center for Consumer Research at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. Credit card debt isn't as accepted now; it carries more of a stigma." The recession, which began at the end of 2008, saw consumers sharply curtail credit card spending.
The overall amount of credit card debt dropped 8.8 percent in 2009 and 7.6 percent in 2010, before leveling out in subsequent years, according to the Federal Reserve.
Credit counselors say that perception is what prevents many of their clients from seeking help sooner. boxes or to a different address, and they may not take steps to fix the problem because they're working so hard trying to keep up appearances.
Not only are they unwilling to talk about their debt with strangers, a growing number are hiding financial problems from their spouses, family members and friends, says Michael Mc Auliffe, president of Family Credit Management, a Chicago-based nonprofit consumer credit counseling agency. "Clients would tell us they were spending 0 to go out on a Saturday night because they didn't want to tell their friends what was going on," Mc Auliffe says.
That's the topic people are least likely to want to talk about with someone they just met.
The only other topic that makes people hold their tongues that much? Americans are more comfortable talking about politics, their religious views and their ages than they are talking about how much debt they carry on their credit cards, according to a new poll conducted for Credit
According to the old saying, you shouldn't talk about religion or politics in polite company.
Add one more to the list of conversational taboos: Credit card debt.
Interviewees were approximately split between males and females ages 18 and over.
The raw data was then weighted by a custom designed computer program that automatically developed a weighting factor for each respondent, employing five variables: age, sex, education, race and geographic region.
Combining the "somewhat unlikely" and "very unlikely" responses, these are most-taboo topics: Debt perceived as personal failure Larry Compeau, professor of consumer behavior at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.