Millennials carry an average of $27,900 in debt, not including mortgages, according to new data released today by Northwestern Mutual. Gen Z, the oldest of whom are now 22 years old, have an average debt of $14,700. Buzz Feed News reports:
Having sizable debt at a young age “is the new normal,” said Chantel Bonneau, wealth management advisor at Northwestern Mutual. “There are lots of people who exit school, and before they start their first job, have debt. That is a different situation from 30 years ago.”
Millennials’ main source of debt is credit card bills, and Gen Z’s is student loans. In a previous poll by CreditCards.com, 40% millennials said the top reason they carried a credit card balance was daily expenses such as groceries, childcare, and utilities, and about 20% pointed to unexpected emergencies such as medical bills and car repairs. Bonneau said discretionary expenses such as vacations and eating meals out also contribute to credit card debt.
About 45% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z reported feeling guilty about their debt at least every month — more than other age groups. But debt is a major stressor across age groups. One-fifth of all respondents said their debt made them physically ill at least monthly, 45% said it made them anxious at least monthly, and 35% said they felt guilty once a month or more.