Whether they're keeping up with the Joneses or keeping up with the Kardashians, Americans have become big spenders. And many are in over their heads in debt.
Of course, not all debt is necessarily bad. Some degree of debt can open doors and economic opportunities: paying for a college education, buying a car to get to work, obtaining a home in a nice community. The questions then become, how much debt is too much and what is the right amount of red?
Over the past 30 years, American families have taken on increasing amounts of debt, even as incomes failed to keep pace. About 80 percent of American households now hold some form of debt, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts' survey of American family finances.
Nearly 7 in 10 said that debt is a necessity, even though they would rather not have it. Almost exactly the same percentage also said that loans and credit cards have expanded their opportunities, according to the Pew report.
Here's a look at four common types of debt Americans take on and how best to manage it.