HomeDebtThursday Poll: Debt

Thursday Poll: Debt

A few instructions:

1. Don’t include mortgage debt, but do include HELOC’s

2. Include 401k loans.

3. Don’t include credit card bills you pay off in full every month.

4. Include school loans, car loans, etc.

5. Participate

[poll id=”4″]

Extra credit points if you share/break down your debt totals in the comments.

p.s. IF you are viewing this via email you will need to click through to my blog to see the poll. 



  1. I owe $43k in student loans and $6k on my car loan. No other debt whatsoever, though, so hopefully I can get it knocked out in the next few years!

    Edited to add: First to comment too! Do I get a pony?

  2. I have about USD 6,000 debt on my rental property. It is technically not a mortgage. It is a Consumer Credit I had taken out since in my country paying mortgage early is penalized. When I was buying the rental property, I had more than 75% of the required funds, so I had decided to take out a 36 month loan at a slightly higher interest rate. My sister is in banking so, she took advantage of some consumer loan package promotions and optimized the loan by dividing it into three parts with different interest rates. I closed one of those loans last December. I have 12 months to go to close the whole debt.

    If you think this still qualifies as a mortgage, I owe less than 1,000 on a home renovation project.

  3. $16,900 on my HELOC is my only debt. I need another 12 or 14 months to pay it off as long as nothing in my house, car, dog, mouth breaks.

  4. 44k of consumer debt, all of which is less than 5.9interest rate. Our mortgage is about 5.9, so we are not rushing to pay it down until the interest free/low interest expires. Most of this will be payed off within 12-18 months.

    18k of “consumer” debt used as an investment through a company structure. Paying this down over 4 more years, although the after tax interest rate is relatively high, we can defer the tax loss into the future so no rush yet.

  5. Currently, we have a 20K investment loan. Investment loa n interest is tax deductible in Canada and the dividend covers the after tax interest rate; we’re investing in this for capital appreciation, not the dividends.
    Oh, completely forgot about the car loan. Not sure how much is left on that, it will be paid off by the end of the year, so 1.5 years in. The interest rate on the car was less than the mortgage, so we financed it 100 percent, even the tax. I’d venture there’s 20K outstanding right now.

  6. I have $13k in student loans and husband has $6k.

    He has $2800 on his car (which we are paying off TODAY, so do I have to count it?!) and I have about 5k on my car.

    Plan is to be debt-free except the mortgage by the end of 2014 all while still paying cash for grad school and both working full-time.

  7. My non-mortgage debt, according to your rules:

    $17K: HELOC
    $4K: Student Loans

    However, the HELOC is on a rental property, and we used the equity we had built up in our condo for our down payment on a house – so I consider the HELOC to be part of the mortgage debt. However, I followed your rules for the survey.

  8. I owe ~$85k in student loans. 5 years of undergrad, 2 years of masters, 3 years of doctorate. Of course my annual salary is slightly more than 1/2 of what I owe. 🙁

  9. “I ain’t got no stinkin’ debt” — isn’t that a double negative?? — and I ain’t got no stinkin’ mortgage — paid that sucker off 7 years ago.

  10. Of my $33k in debt, $25k is a student loan with close to a 0% interest rate, so I’m taking as long as I can to pay it off since I’m better off investing money than having no student loan debt. The rest is HELOC but I’ve been pounding away at it and it should be paid off by next month!

  11. $52K in husband’s student loan plus $35K in personal loan when we had to turn his home into a rental (had to refinance at the worst possible time). wish we didn’t both own homes when we fell in love . . . but that’s life. in our not quite 5 years of being married, we have paid off both cars and made a huge dent in the student loan! so only $87K (and two mortgages) left to go . . .

  12. Nothing left except mortgage. All time high was probably about $80,000 with student loans and credit card balances from home renovations.

  13. I owe about $19,500 on my student loan. And, I owe my parents $20,000 (interest free) for a car loan and one of my student loans they graciously paid off in cash, and now I owe them.

    My bf owes about $11,000 in student loans and another $11,000 to his parents for a personal loan (they helped him get by while he was in law enforcement training).

  14. I have almost exactly $14k in student loan debt @ 5.375% and that’s it. I’m currently saving for a house/wedding while paying that down, so it’s a struggle to pick a set amount to save vs. pay down debt. I could pay it all off right now, but then wouldn’t have the cash savings, etc. First world problems, right??

  15. Mortgage debt, but no HELOC. No 401k loans (I think those are the dumbest things unless it is a life or death emergency). Credit cards are paid off every month. No school loans (ever!, thank goodness!) The only ding I have is my car loan at approx $7,000. Which I could pay off with my savings, but I may be losing my job/taking a lower paying job in the next few months so I don’t want to throw away half of my savings at the moment. maybe once I find out what is to become of me I’ll pay it off. Thankfully I got a low 2.9% interest rate….

  16. So happy to see that most people have no debt. All I have left is the car loan…. get that paid off and I will be “Debt Free!!!” Although, I still don’t think I would pay cash for my next car…..

  17. $56K total non-mortgage debt. Of that $45K is student loans and $11K is my car loan. At the rate i’m going i have about 3 years left before being (non-mortgage) debt free. Hopefully we can accelerate that, but its hard balancing our savings goals/needs with my desire to get rid of these debt obligations!

  18. I have $24,000 in student loans, but they’re currently in deferment and bearing no interest. I paid off $10,000 of interest bearing loans my first year out of school. If you count the money we are saving to pay off the loan as soon as I graduate (1.5-2 years), I have $16,093 in student loan debt. No other debt, but saving for a down payment (also for as soon as I graduate), so the mortgage is coming soon(ish)!

  19. I have 100K in student loans (I stupidly went out of state for 4 years – believe me, I know better now) and about 2K in credit card debt. I’m working on paying off the rest of the credit card balance and am slowly (slooooowly) paying down my student loans. The only upside is that, with rejoining the military, they will pay off 50K of my federal loans (basically ALL of them). So in 6 years I’ll be able to cut my student loans in at least half (not including what I’ll be paying towards my private loans during that time). I keep telling myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel…

  20. We (I) will have about 110,000 in student loans (that’s with a scholarship, folks!) that won’t enter repayment until a year from now. Other than those, we have just under 10,000 in student debt (his), 6000 on the car, and 10,000 in credit/small medical debt.

  21. I have just over 40K in student loans and just a bit of credit card debt left to pay off. It’ll be gone by the end of the year. No mortgage, no car payments. Life is good.

  22. $36K in student debt–paying it back slowly and then occasionally getting annoyed and dumping money on it.
    $400 on the credit card for a vet visit that I need to pay off when I get paid next week–dogs are expensive!
    Other than that, no non-mortgage debt.

  23. $5600 student loan @ 2.625%, cars are owned, no CC debt. Booyah!

    Mortgage on the primary home (20% equity) and a mortgage on an upside down rental that I hope to sell (break-even) in 2 or 3 years. Moving up in homes without selling the first one was a dumb mistake……..

  24. $14k Auto Loan @ 1.49%

    The only reason I haven’t paid it off is that the rate is just so low, and I want the liquidity.

  25. $24k, all in student loans. Interest rates range from 3 – 6.8%. I’ve already paid off 14% or so of the original amount in 5 months I’ve been out of school, and I would have paid more if I hadn’t had to buy a car in the mean time.

    I should have it taken care of within a couple years, just in time to take on a mortgage.

  26. 72K in Student Loans is my only debt (all from my Masters Program) The interest rate is now 6.8%, not sure if it will reset once it goes into deferment. I just got a pretty bawse job at a bawse salary too, so I think I’ll be ok to pay that off in 5 years (while saving up for a downpayment and maintaining my current lifestyle).

  27. I don’t think I want to discuss this….

    My personal debt (hubby is whole different story)
    ~32k in student loan debt (rates vary from 4.75-6.75%)
    ~15k car loan @ 2.49%
    various credit card debt totaling about 15k maybe

    really need to refocus and get back to paying down debt instead of spending…

  28. Total debt is around $26K. Around $7k is for my student loans. $8k in parent plus loans that I am paying back. Finally $11k in car loan. In 1 month, my highest interest rate for my student loans will be 2% so I will let that sit while I tackle other debt. Focusing my energies to pay off my parent plus loans and car loan.

  29. Too much debt 🙁 we owe $1900 on one vehicle, $11,000 on another, $10,000 in student loans, and $11,300 in credit card debt. The good news is that about half of the credit card debt will be paid off in the next couple months, and most of this debt will be eliminated by this time next year, if not sooner! We have had to learn the hard way with debt, so although my husband and I started out on our own with no financial help and were swayed by credit, we know better now!

  30. $125k in student loans ($73k in private loans at 5.75%, $52k in government loans at 3.875% — all from law school, so while it sucks, it’s gotten me my current rather well paying job)

    $14k in credit cards, all at 0% interest right now thanks to balance transfers, which will be gone by the end of the year (if not sooner) if all goes according to plan.

  31. I said I have between $10k and $20k but really we consider ourselves debt-free…

    I have $16k in subsidized student loans that are currently deferred. We have (more than) $16k set aside to pay them off when they come out of deferment and part of that money is invested so we can make some money off this taxpayer subsidy. 🙂

  32. Total Debt for my husband and I = $37K: $22K owed for student loans, $10K for 1 car and $5k for a car we purchased from my parents (they are letting us make payments (interest fee) for the remainder).

  33. $90K in student loan debt and the mortgage….baby steps, but getting it all paid off will happen sooner rather than later….

  34. $26k auto loan. Just bought (almost brand) new SUV. Put down $13k and financed the rest.

  35. Living a debt-free life. For now. But a home purchase is looming on the horizon. And as much as it’s an “acceptable” form of borrowing, I still consider it debt. Which turns this —-> 🙂 into this —-> 🙁

  36. $42,000 for the two of us. $18,000 in 1 car loan, $2,500 in credit card debt (which was $4,500 at the start of this year), and $21,500 in student loans.

  37. I have 7,200 of Student Loan debt. Since I get reimbursment for loan payments from my employer of up to $2,000 per year, I am not in a hurry to pay it off any faster even though every once in a while I get an itch to just try to get rid of it.

  38. $160,000 student loan debt
    $8,000 car loan (will be paid off in 2 years at most)
    no credit card debt or mortgage

    It was pretty scary to not see a bracket big enough for me to fit in =/

  39. Been working on it so not as high as six months ago:
    $34000 student loan (2.75% interest)
    $18000 car loan (2.99% interest)
    $12000 credit card (way too high interest)

    Just mine and not hubby’s. Just refinanced my mortgage so some savings there. Also just paid off a credit card so will snowball payment into next credit card.

  40. Ninja, why the requirement to include 401K loans in the total picture of debt?!?! Have you ever taken one of these out before?

    Here is my concise argument – as long as you are employed, these loans are paid back and you are paying interest to yourself! If you are not employed, then they become due and you have options; you can choose not to pay them and suffer tax consequences (not recommended) or pay them back in installments (again, interest paid to yourself). The only downside are the origination fees that companies like Fidelity charge, but these are one time fees and seem a lot less toxic that a credit card or other form of debt.

    If you want, I will volunteer to write a guest post about the subject, it is worth discussing further, especially for those who have massive amounts of debts like student loans or car notes. Email me at [email protected] if I can help with that. I used to be anti-401K loan, but since I actually tried this product, I found it can be a great debt reduction tool when used properly.

  41. I owe about 6K on my car, and the only reason I still have the debt is I make more in interest then I pay in interest every month.

  42. We have no non-mortgage debt and if we ever buy a house it will be in cash. My husband and I paid off $65K finishing the month before our wedding, and we vowed to remain debt free our entire lives together. So far so good.

    • “if we ever buy a house it will be in cash.” Love it. And I thought a 15 year mortgage was unconventional.

  43. No stinking debt in our house of cards 🙂 Although we are going to buy a house by the end of the year, so our debt will increase between $100K-120K. Good and bad.
    I’m really hoping we can land a house and only have to borrow $100K.

  44. $60k in student loan debt. hubs has more but i try to not think about that.
    $70k on a HELOC to finance our rental.

    plus $12k on a card right now (ouch) awaiting reimbursement. it pains me to see that, even though I know it will be paid off as soon as i get the reimbursement check. (wish I could pay it off and then reimburse myself but just don’t have the cash)

    and if we had counted the mortgage it would all be even scarier. I’m a mess of debt.

  45. <$1000 boat – and that is sitting at 0% interest on a cc, so i'm taking my sweet time paying that off. The all time high (without the 2 mortgages, one of which is now paid off and sending me money as a rental) was ~$8000 on a cc, all at 0% interest (never paid interest) with the cash waiting to pay it off sitting in my account (back when interest rates were worth something at ING). No 1-4 ever.

  46. I have about $1,400 in CC debt, &17,000 in student loans, and a $23,300 car loan.

    Yikes! Can’t wait ’til these are all zero!

  47. Just had to replace the water heater and furnace. Got 20k at 0% for 5 years. Plan on paying this off much faster than that. Could pay off right now if I needed to but don’t want to deplete the emergency fund.

  48. Been in debt 3 times in my life:
    1 – 2006 – $1k for a new road bike. 12 months interest free. Paid in full prior to interest starting.
    2 – 2009 – $5k for my Masters Degree. Student Loan debt, all subsidized. All paid off prior to interest starting.
    3 – 2010 – $13k for a new car. Paid off in less than 2 years.
    Since July 2012 – DEBT FREE!

  49. 37k is car loans
    6.5k in student lones
    1.3k in a zero interest loan

    That’s it. I like new cars, so I’ll probably almost always have a car payment for the foreseeable future. It’s my vice!!

  50. Oops, I answered wrong! I said less than $1000, but I didn’t bother to read to the bottom to the no debt answer which is actually where we are. Paid off my husband’s personal loan, IRS bill, and our credit cards two months ago. Wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

  51. about $8000, which I think is not too bad. Is on a line of credit, moved over from student loans as the rate was much better. We just finished putting my husband through school (10 years post secondary, 4 of that being med school) last year, made debt repayment our priority, and have almost totally paid it off. Most of the student loan was from before we were married, and before I started paying his tuition 🙂

  52. I have about $47K between my outstanding line of credit and my car. Hopefully will have LOC paid off by next year and then throw that money at my car. Hoping my car will last 10 years and I won’t have to buy one for a long time! 🙂

  53. I have $14,455 (and increasing because of interest) in student loans. All from my graduate degree. Hoping to pay it all off within the next two years, now that I have a teaching job lined up. I could just teach for 5 years and have a bunch of it paid off (Title 1 school) but I figure why keep it around so long when I could realistically get rid of it within 2 years.

  54. 13k in relatively low interest student loans. i have the cash on hand (above and beyond my e-fund) to pay them off 3 times over, but I’m waiting until I really think that would be the best use of my cash… so far, keeping the loans seems like my best choice.

    • Not losing interest (even 2%) is a good use of your money. And then you’ll be able to earn more than that in investments with the $26k you’ve got lying around.

  55. 19,000 car loan (2.9%)
    9,000 student loan (around 3.5%) down from 28,000
    1,200 CC debt (around 10%) will pay off by July

  56. I have under $1,000 in credit card debt. The majority of my debt (I voted $10-20k) is student loans and medical debt.

  57. ~78K in student loans — slowly whittling down from the ~$113K I started with. Hubby’s are paid off at least. Otherwise no non-mortgage debt.

  58. $950 in Student Loans
    $2,200 in a Car Loan
    $9,300 in Credit Cards (these were paid off then we moved to Japan, and that adds in a LOT of costs the military doesn’t pay for, and 2 emergency plane tickets back to the States for family health reasons).

  59. 8,000 personal debt at 0%
    9,000 auto loan at 6%
    23,500 student loans, mostly at 6.8%, some at 4.5% (should have gone to school all before 2005/2006!)

    40,500… which is what I make in a year…. yeesh. My rent isn’t cheap either because I live in Southern California (675$ to split an apartment- 1350 a month total).

    These student loan interest rates are completely unfair. Why does it seem like everyone else is paying less?

  60. Only student loans. 30k from undergrad, 130k from law school. One year out of law school and I’m paying $4,500 each month to these suckers. Hoping to be finished in three years.

  61. Wow the readers on this site are amazing! Congrats on the zero debts! We re getting there… Currently we have 55k total. 19k in auto loan and 36k in student loans for me and my husband. Keep us in your prayers as we are attempting to punch debt in the face and knock it out in two years. And then we ll move on to the mortgage.

  62. $5000 from husband’s student loans. Won’t be too long until that is paid off and then just mortgage to go.

  63. $9100 left on a 0% car loan. I’m very okay with that since this debt has no interest and it means I was able to use my money more effectively than directing a big chunk toward a depreciating asset.

  64. I’ve currently got around $44k of student loan debt (Down from around $65k!), nothing else, thankfully. Car is paid for, living with parents until I’m debt free or married, and I plan on paying cash for cars forever, and eventually a sizeable down payment on a house.

    Here’s the breakdown (due to change next week as another payment comes due):
    AES – $8k – 5.20%
    Chase Bank – $11k – 6.38%
    Great Lakes – $12k – 5.50%
    Sallie Mae (x2) – $7k (total) – 2.39% (each)
    Dept of Ed 1 – $3k – 5.75%
    Dept of Ed 2 – $1k – 6.55%
    Dept of Ed 3 – $2k – 5.35%

    Currently paying them down highest interest first, and Dept of Ed 2 will be gone this month! Planning on getting all paid off in a little over two years, then starting on a Masters program (paid for in cash and scholarships if I get any).

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