One silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that millions of people paid down their debts in record numbers.
Alas, those good habits didn’t last long. As life returned to something closer to normal in 2021, debt began to rise again. Still, many Americans appear ready to chip away at their balances in 2022.
Recently, retirement services provider Empower and its affiliate Personal Capital, a digital wealth management company, issued their 2022 Wealth & Wellness Index, a survey of around 2,000 U.S. adults that takes the pulse of the nation’s household finances.
Participants in the survey said they plan to take on the following types of debt in the year ahead. The list starts with their lowest priority and ends with the bills people seem to be most eager to pay off.
4. Student loans
Respondents hoping to pay off this debt: 22%
Soon after the pandemic arrived, the federal government told millions of people with student loans that they could stop making payments for a period. That forbearance has been extended several times since the initial announcement.
However, the reprieve now is scheduled to end on May 1, and borrowers are taking notice. Nearly one-quarter of survey respondents say they hope to pay off such loans once and for all in 2022.
Worried about paying off your loans? Stop by the MTN Solutions Center and find expert help with your student loan debt.
3. Paying off medical bills
Respondents hoping to pay off this debt: 25%
Even in the Obamacare era, medical debt remains a huge burden for millions of Americans. One 2021 study, published in the journal JAMA, estimated total medical debt in the U.S. to be around $140 billion.
If doctor bills leave you feeling sick, stop by the Money Talks News Solutions Center to find help dealing with debt collectors.
2. Paying off a mortgage
Respondents hoping to pay off this debt: 34%
Many experts refer to a home loan as one of the few forms of “good” debt. But every obligation — even a good one — is costly, so it is no surprise that many Americans are working hard to own their home free and clear.
Should you join them? To discover the answer, read “7 Times It Makes Sense to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early.”
1. Personal debt
Respondents hoping to pay off this debt: 67%
More than two-thirds of Americans want to pay off their personal debt, a catch-all term that captures many of the debts that do not fall into the other categories on this list.
Credit card debt is probably the most notorious form of personal debt. If you are struggling to pay off personal debt, stop by the MTN Solutions Center and find free, expert debt help.