Credit card debt, interest rates among the inflation hitting people in their 20s hardest

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
Inflation hits young adults in their 20s hard
Young adults, especially those in their 20s, may be more likely to pile on big debt as inflation grips the nation.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Young adults, especially those in their 20s, may be more likely to pile on big debt as inflation grips the nation. This age group also faces the challenges of college loan repayment and lower paying first jobs.

But even with the additional strain, you can still pay off debt and have a little fun.

Teacher Mayra Jaramillo and her husband are in their 20s and starting a family, but the Mooseheart, Ill. couple have found themselves in debt and struggling financially.

"My husband and I needed to pay some stuff and credit was the easiest way. And we just let it pile up and pile up and didn't take into account the APR or any of that stuff," Jaramillo said. "The interest rates is what really hurt us because we were making payments, but the bills weren't going down."

MORE | Tips to pay off your credit card debt

Nerdwallet credit card expert Sara Rathner shares her tips on how to pay off your credit card debt as interest rates rise.

The couple joined a nonprofit credit counseling service called Money Management International, which helped them create a person spending plan and consolidated their debts into one payment. They now owe about $5,000 and have been able to build up their credit score using only a card with a low limit, which they use only for gasoline and groceries. She's also paying it off every month to avoid interest.

According to Nerd Wallet, 43% of credit card holders don't even know their interest rate. The average rate has soared to 17.3%, making paying down credit card bills more challenging. College loan repayments for people in their 20s add to that burden.

"The 20s are always a turbulent time. You know, we've got we're coming out of college, we're landing our first job," said Thomas Nitzsche, financial educator with Money Management International. "And with interest rates going up as many as seven times this year. The average interest rate on credit cards is expected to reach about 20% which is an all-time high according to Bankrate. So it's going to be really difficult for people who do find themselves in that situation to be able to pay that debt down."

Jaramillo said if she wants to treat herself to a night out it's cash only, and the fun doesn't go on the family's one credit card.

"I would say just to stick to a budget and it's OK to miss out on some stuff," she said.

If you are in credit card debt, you should start by paying off the card with the highest interest rate and make the minimum payment on other cards. When the highest interest rate card is paid off, then start tackling the others.

If you are looking into a credit consolidation service to help you manage debt, always research them first and try to stick with a nonprofit one.