You Won't Believe Which Generation Has the Most Credit Card Debt

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  • The typical consumer owes $6,320.98 on their credit cards.
  • Gen Xers have the highest balances at $7,004.07 on average.
  • If you're carrying credit card debt, it's in your best interest to pay it off quickly, perhaps by taking on a side hustle.

It's probably not the one you think.

These days, a lot of people are carrying balances on their credit cards. We can thank inflation for that. When your bills go up across the board, it can be difficult to manage them with your regular paycheck alone -- especially if you don't have money in your savings account to fall back on.

New York Life’s latest Wealth Watch survey reveals that the average credit card balance among all U.S. consumers is $6,320.98. But members of one generation owe a lot more than that.

Gen Xers owe the most

You might assume that it's Gen Zers or millennials who have the highest credit card balances. They're the ones who are likely to be earning less due to having less career experience.

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But actually, the aforementioned survey found that Gen Xers have the highest credit card balances, averaging $7,004.07. And surprisingly, baby boomers are second to Gen Xers in terms of outstanding debt. They owe an average of $6,784.64 on their credit cards.

Why do older Americans have more debt? It may actually be because they earn more, and therefore feel comfortable taking on higher expenses.

Also, a lot of Gen Xers may be grappling with not just inflation, but also, having to pay college tuition for their growing children or having to support their adult children during these trying times. And many baby boomers may be retired and on a fixed income that can't keep up with inflation. So over the past year, boomers may have added to their credit card balances simply to keep up with their costs.

Eliminating credit card debt is key

No matter which generation you identify with and how much credit card debt you have, it's important to do what you can to pay it off quickly. The sooner you do, the less interest you'll rack up, and the less money you'll wind up throwing away.

Of course, to pay off your credit card debt, you'll need money. And if your main paycheck is eaten up by your regular bills, then you may need to look to the gig economy to give your income a boost.

The good news is that you can make a nice amount of money from a side hustle no matter your age, and the right approach may be to see if it's possible to monetize one of your hobbies so that side gig doesn't feel as much like work. If you're someone who plays an instrument well, offer up your services as a music teacher for students who want to learn. If you love hanging out with dogs, become a dog-walker or sitter. And if you're great in the kitchen, moonlight as a personal chef.

There are lots of different options you can look at, but the key is to whittle down your credit card balance as quickly as possible. If you allow that debt to drag on, you may find that no matter what your balance looks like today, it'll be a whole heck of a lot higher a year from now.

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