31 million Americans expect to die in debt

As credit debt in the United States reaches record highs, 31 million Americans believe they'll die in debt.

Revolving debt, most of it carried on credit cards, is at a record-high level of $1.022 trillion. Overall household debt, including mortgages, student loans, car loans and credit card balances, has hit $3.83 trillion, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported in November 2017.

In a new study, more than 2 out of 3 U.S. adults  don't know when, or if, they will ever be debt-free.

When pollsters for creditcards.com asked them to describe their feelings about debt in a word or two, some were hopeful, but responses also included 18 who wrote “stressed” or “stressful,” 22 who replied “overwhelmed,” and 10 who said “sucks.”

According to the Federal Reserve, 77 percent of U.S. families held some form of debt in 2016. That includes 44 percent who had outstanding credit card balances and 42 percent with mortgages.  In 1983, just 37 percent said they had credit card debt and 37 percent had mortgages.

Who is most down about their debt? People who take out payday loans and have medical debts are the most pessimistic about repaying those obligations, with about half of each group anticipating they will carry those debts to the grave, according to the poll. Those who owe money on credit cards, student loans, mortgages and auto loans feel better about their repayment prospects.

The older we are, the gloomier we get about debt: Pessimism about living debt-free is abundant and increases with age. Of those carrying debt, 65 percent of millennials (ages 18-36) either don't know when they'll pay it off or think they never will. That percentage goes up with each generation: with 68 percent of Generation X (37-52), 70 percent of baby boomers (53-71) and 83 percent of the Silent Generation (72+) doubting their abilities to ever get out of debt.