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MMI Sees Dramatic Increase in American Consumers Struggling with Debt, Middle Class Hardest Hit

STAFFORD, Texas, May 28, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Money Management International (MMI), a leading nonprofit dedicated to improving financial health, has noted a concerning trend in the American consumer debt landscape through its proprietary Consumer Distress Dashboard.

MMI saw a 72% increase in credit counseling demand in April 2024 compared to April 2023. Moreover, the average unsecured debt carried by new clients reached a historic high of over $30,000, primarily representing credit card balances.

This unsettling shift affects not only traditionally vulnerable populations but also families with higher incomes who are now facing escalating financial challenges.

"At MMI, we are carefully monitoring the growing debt struggles of American consumers and are working tirelessly to support them,” said Michelle Jones, Chief External Affairs Officer at Money Management International. “The debt levels of American households continue to climb. We're now seeing higher-income earners reaching out for help in unprecedented ways. These are concerning trends that we are tracking closely.”  

MMI's Consumer Distress Dashboard has highlighted several significant trends:

Rapid Increase in Higher-Income Earners Seeking Help: In Q1 of 2024, there was a 73% YoY increase in higher-income earners above 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI) seeking counseling, far exceeding the 38% increase among those earning below 80% AMI. The data signals broader financial stress, exacerbated by inflation and post-pandemic economic shifts, affecting families once considered financially stable.

Escalating Debt Levels: Clients with incomes above 100% AMI reported carrying an average unsecured debt of over $39,000 in 2023, marking a 26% rise from 2022. Comparatively, clients earning below 50% AMI experienced an increase of 19%.

"There is an undeniable link between inflation and rising debt. American household budgets are being squeezed, leaving many families unable to manage,” added Kate Bulger, Vice President at MMI. “It's not just affecting low-income households. Solidly middle-class households are experiencing the erosion of financial resilience.”

MMI remains committed to helping Americans overcome their financial challenges and is actively tracking the trends through its Consumer Distress Dashboard, launched in early 2024. The dashboard aggregates data from thousands of clients served by MMI to offer valuable insights into consumer financial health.

About MMI 

Money Management International (MMI) is at the forefront of changing how America overcomes financial challenges. With over 65 years of experience, MMI empowers individuals to achieve financial confidence through education, motivation, and informed choices. Named among the nation's best by Bankrate, ConsumerAffairs, Investopedia, Forbes, Fortune, and USA Today, MMI helps people overcome everyday and extraordinary financial challenges. Through nonprofit programs that offer expert guidance and timely solutions, MMI inspires action and fosters a life of financial wellness. Learn more at: MoneyManagement.org 

For reporters seeking real people to interview, MMI has created a group of nearly 400 clients from across the country who are willing to share their experiences with the media in the hopes of helping others challenged with debt. Together, our peer advocates have paid off over $16 million of debt and now serve as MMI ambassadors. Hear from them on MMI’s podcast, Long Story $hort

To schedule an interview about MMI’s Consumer Distress Dashboard and to speak with our experts or MMI Peer Advocates in your market, please contact: 

Thomas Nitzsche, 404.490.2227, Thomas.Nitzsche@MoneyManagement.org

Lori Geary, 404.551.2151, lgeary@lexiconstrategies.com

 


Thomas Nitzsche
Money Management International
404.490.2227
Thomas.Nitzsche@MoneyManagement.org

Lori Geary
Lexicon Strategies
404.551.2151
lgeary@lexiconstrategies.com

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