When you’ve gotten yourself into some trouble, it can be comforting to know you’re not the only one. For example, if you get caught in a speed trap and pulled over by a police officer, seeing others get tickets might make you feel less foolish. The same goes for financial decisions and debt.
Take student loans as another example. If you’re an average student these days, you’re probably graduating with a huge amount of debt. (We’ll get into that in more detail.) And if you didn’t know that’s more or less par for the course, you might feel you’ve been scammed or taken advantage of.
But when everybody’s overstepping and overspending, we can run into serious problems. Take the housing bubble, for example, or the budding issues with auto and student loans. Eventually, the chickens will come home to roost, and that’s why you should pay attention to just how much debt Americans are in. Right now, we’re looking at about $13 trillion in U.S. consumer debt. But where did that figure come from?