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Debt and the holidays, in 7 charts

This feature was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and Chase. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.

By Lauren Gibbons Paul

By now, most Americans have recovered from their holiday hangovers but many are dealing with another headache: paying off all those presents and parties. This comes on top of near-record levels of consumer debt, including home mortgages, car loans, credit card bills, and student loans. Here's what the debt landscape looks like, and where things are going.

1

Economic trends are good, if not necessarily great. Consumers were planning to spend near $600 on holiday gifts, near the record high—well up from the post-recession years.

From Source: The National Retail Federation’s Consumer Holiday Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, October 2015.

2

According to the National Retail Federation, more than a third of holiday shoppers pay for their purchases with credit and another third pay with debit cards.

From Source: The National Retail Federation’s Consumer Holiday Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, October 2015.

3

More than a quarter surveyed think it'll take them five months to pay off holiday debt, while another quarter plan to make only minimum monthly payments — which means 2015 holiday debt won't be paid off until August 2019.

From Source: MagnifyMoney consumer survey with Survata, January 2015.

4

5

Credit card rates have been low, by historical standards, for the last few years, as the Federal Reserve has kept its rates low. But the Fed rates have started rising, which will push credit card rates up, too. Which will make those debts even more expensive.

From Source: Two Cents: How Interest Rates Will Affect Your Finances in 2015

6

At the end of the 2015 Q3, on September 30, total household indebtedness was $12.07 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve of New York. That’s up $212 billion from a quarter earlier. But it’s still 5 percent below a 2008 Q3 peak of $12.68 billion.

From Source: Two Cents: How Interest Rates Will Affect Your Finances in 2015

7

That post-recession debt loads are rising again shows that many Americans are able to handle their current debts, and feel confident about future prospects.

From Source: Analysis of Federal Reserve data, reported on the NerdWallet site

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This feature was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and Chase. Vox Media editorial staff was not involved in the creation or production of this content.


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