Report: Consumer debt tops $4 trillion


    For the first time ever, consumer debt is now topping $4 trillion, according to a new Federal Reserve report reviewed by CBS 13. (WGME)

    PORTLAND (WGME) -- For the first time ever, consumer debt is now topping $4 trillion, according to a new Federal Reserve report reviewed by CBS 13.

    Economists say with low unemployment and steady income growth, consumers are actually tapping into credit lines, and in the last few years, the feds say Americans overall have bumped up their debt by $1 trillion.

    The Federal Reserve reports that since 2013, there has been a $1 trillion increase in the amount of debt Americans are carrying.

    That breaks down to nearly $1.2 trillion in auto loans, nearly $1.6 trillion in student loans and more than $1 trillion in consumer credit, mostly from credit cards.

    Credit counselors say if you want to reduce your debt, cut the use of credit cards and monitor goals.

    “There is hope. We can help you,” credit counselor Carolee Burse said. “It could take a year, it could take two years. Everyone is different. Their situation is different. Depends on their debt, 98 weeks is typical. A couple years. I would say a lot of times their long-term goals are to purchase a home.”

    While this $4 trillion debt benchmark is significant, it's also interesting to note that consumer debt is now increasing at a slower pace.

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