As you might imagine this particular question didn't come from someone with debt problems, but rather someone without them who I was discussing financial matters with the other day.
When it comes to getting in debt, the "spend more then you make" part is obvious, but the specific reasons why that happens so often did lead to an interesting discussion about why there are in fact, such a high percentage of Americans living with significant debt these days, and why it's easier to get into it more now than ever.
Some of the most common reasons people get in debt include:
Sudden and unexpected expenses. Be it medical bills, auto-repairs or other unforseen circumstances, these types of bills often pop up unexpectedly and simply need to be paid. That means borrowing money, and that means - debt.
Ease of getting credit. There was a time not too long ago that credit wasn't nearly as accessible to consumers as is it today. These days, people are barraged daily with credit card applications and department store offers, making credit a more frequent temptation. When you use credit and don't pay off your balance right away, you can be categorized and flagged as "high risk" because you're acquiring more debt.
Lack of attention to spending. It's much easier to over spend when you're swiping plastic cards to pay for things instead of paying attention to what's left in your wallet. Sometimes people simply don't keep proper track of their spending over the month, and wind up with a balance they can't afford to pay off. The interest on the unintended credit can make paying off the balance more difficult next month, creating a cycle of growing debt.
Student loans. This one's been a problem for people for some time, but these days it's harder to get away with not paying them back or delaying interest. Combined with longer and/or repeated schooling in many cases, many young adults are entering the workplace with tens of thousands already in the hole.
To make a long story short, there are plenty of reasons people are getting into more debt now than ever. If you're one of them, hopefully American Debt Advisor can help.