The credit mistake 80% of people under age 50 are making

|
The credit mistake 80% of people under age 50 are making
Team Clark is adamant that we will never write content influenced by or paid for by an advertiser. To support our work, we do make money from some links to companies and deals on our site. Learn more about our guarantee here.
Advertisement

Credit cards can be great for building, maintaining and even improving your overall credit. But when overused, hefty balances can be quite detrimental. Unfortunately, the average cardholder under the age of 52 appears to be carrying big balances, or, more specifically, using an average of 80% of their available credit.

Read more: The #1 way to stop living paycheck-to-paycheck

Importance of how you use your available credit

That was the finding of a recent TransUnion study, which also showed that these consumers, making up the “Millennial” and “Gen X” generations, are more likely to have subprime credit than those age 52 or older.

How you use your available credit, also known in the credit scoring industry as your credit utilization ratio, makes up a good chunk of your credit score —30%, in fact. While the total amount that you owe (credit cards, home loans, car loans, etc.), is included in determining your credit score, it’s the credit cards – or revolving accounts – that have the most impact on it. In order to maximize your scores in this section, you should keep your balances in relation to your credit limits as low as possible, under at least 30% and ideally 10%.

TransUnion’s study found that older folks — the Baby Boomers (52-70) and the Silent Generation (70+)— are faring better in this regard than their younger counterparts, using just 65% and 51% of their available credit, respectively. And, these older generations are less likely to have a bad credit score.

Aside from not racking up too much debt, monitoring your credit is useful for keeping an eye on your credit utilization. (You can pull your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and view your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.) And, remember, no matter what demographic you belong to, you can generally build good credit in the long-term by making all payments on time, keeping debt levels low and adding a mix of accounts organically over time.

Read more: How good credit can improve your credit score 

More from Credit.com:

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

Advertisement
Author placeholder image About the author:
James LaDue is a financial news editor with a background in credit card reporting. His work has been featured on various news outlets specialized in trade and consumer finance.
View More Articles
  • Show Comments Hide Comments