Where Did Our Wealth Go?

Americans have tried to re­balance the family budget but have found it difficult to reverse the damage.

The survey showed that fewer families are carrying credit card balances, and those who do have less debt. The median balance dropped 16 percent, from $3,100 in 2007 to $2,600 in 2010. The Fed also found that the percentage of Americans who have no debt rose to a quarter of families.

Even though data from the Federal Reserve shows that Americans are carrying less credit card debt, it also shows that we’re worth 40 percent less than we were three years ago, and that more families are taking out more loans to pay for college, “leaving the median level of family debt unchanged.” Americans now owe more in student loans than they do in auto or credit card debt. I’m certainly one of those Americans, but I’m trying not to be.

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