Strains on Consumer Credit
Concern Over Mounting Consumer Debt
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” Shakespeare advised. But many consumers seem to be ignoring the first part of that admonition in their rush to keep up with — and stay ahead of — inflation. At the close of the 1970s, Americans were borrowing more and saving less than they had in years. Consumer credit, which includes installment and non-installment debt but not mortgage obligations, amounted to $370 billion in September 1979, up from $185 billion in February 1975. In the past decade total personal debt, including mortgages, has more than doubled, rising from $430 billion in 1970 to $1.2 trillion in the third quarter of 1979. The average family now spends approximately 23 percent of ...