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US credit card debt is so high that many wish they could travel back in time to fix it

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Have you ever made a decision that you wish you could go back and change? You’re not alone. And for many Americans, that decision is tied to financial choices and debt. In a recent survey by OnePoll, commissioned by TrueAccord, 76% of Americans have made an average of five financial decisions they regret in the past five years.

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Top of the list? Fifty-one percent regret not starting a retirement plan when they were young. But half of the items in the top 10 related to outstanding debt and credit management. Forty-three percent of respondents said they regret not paying attention to their credit score, with 81% saying their credit score is more important than their social life.

Forty-one percent of respondents said they regretted defaulting on their payment obligations and ending up in debt collection, while 38% regretted spending too much on credit cards they could not afford to repay. Thirty-six percent regret letting student debt pile up.

There is good news, however, according to the survey. People are quick to seek help in times of financial crisis. Sixty-three percent said they turn to someone they trust, such as their parents (50%), their best friend (48%) or their main bank (46%). Respondents said they also appreciate help and advice when given. Eighty-seven percent of survey respondents said they attributed their financial “gains” to those who gave them advice, while 71% said they learned by observing other people’s financial mistakes and tried not to make the same choices. And more than three-quarters of respondents (76%) have planned a “debt-free” celebration for the day they pay off their debt.

Ohad Samet, founder of digital debt collection agency TrueAccord, told Talker that there are about 80 million Americans with unpaid debts. Debt collection systems, the ability to communicate with debt collectors, budget considerations, and lack of financial knowledge are significant barriers to repaying this debt.

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“For those who are able to repay their balance, there may still be a more lasting impact on their credit score which may be difficult to remedy and further hamper financial stability. People will continue to borrow money when they need it, but what’s important is that they are informed of loan or credit terms and have a financial plan in place to ensure they make smart spending and reimbursement decisions,” Samet told Talker.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketer with interests in finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. His long list of publishing credits includes Bankrate, Lending Tree and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology and entertainment website. She lives in Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten and three lizards of different sizes and personalities – plus her two children and her husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.