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Loans

Here's how much debt the average 20-something has—see how you compare

New Experian data finds consumers in their 20s and 30s have up to $27,251 in credit card, auto loans and student loan debt.

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Debt is part of the average American's life, and you can start to accumulate it as young as your 20s.

New findings from Experian's 2020 State of Credit report show that the average Gen Z consumer (ages 24 and younger) has about $10,942 worth of debt, not including mortgages. Likewise, millennial consumers (ages 25 to 40) have an average of $27,251 in non-mortgage debt, presumably across credit cards, auto loans, personal loans and student loans.

If you own a home, your debt balances might skew higher than average: Homeowners in their 20s and early 30s have between $172,561 and $232,372 of additional mortgage debt.

Millennials and Gen Z represent a wide range of ages and credit profiles, but both include consumers in their 20s. Having more than $10,000 of debt might sound like a lot for someone at the beginning stages of their career, but it's not all bad as long as you're strategic with your pay-off plan.

Using Experian's latest data, CNBC Select looked at how much debt the average 20-something consumer has so you can see how you stack up.

2020 State of Credit Findings

2020 findings by generation Gen Z (ages 24 and younger) Millennials / Gen Y (ages 25 to 40) Gen X (ages 41 to 56) Boomers (ages 57 to 74) Silent (ages 75 and above)
Average VantageScore® 654658676716729
Average number of credit cards1.642.663.33.452.78
Average credit card balance$2197$4651$7718$6747$3988
Average revolving utilization rate30%30%32%24%13%
Average number of retail credit cards1.642.12.592.632.21
Average retail credit card balance$1124$1871$2353$2100$1558
Average non-mortgage debt$10942$27251$32878$25812$12869
Average mortgage debt$172561$232372$245127$191650$159517
Average 30–59 days past due delinquency rates1.60%2.70%3.30%2.20%1.20%
Average 60–89 days past due delinquency rates1.00%1.50%1.80%1.20%0.70%
Average 90–180 days past due delinquency rates2.50%4.40%5.30%3.20%1.90%

The data shows that Gen Z's credit card balances decreased from $2,230 in 2019 to $2,197 in 2020, and the youngest consumers had fewer missed payments than their millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts.

Meanwhile, millennials saw a 5% decrease in their credit utilization rate and have an average credit card balance of $4,651 (down from $4,889 in 2019).

How young consumers can prepare for what's next

While our youngest Gen Z consumers show signs of having developing good credit habits, it's important to prepare for the future so young people can stay on track.

Life becomes a lot more demanding in your 30s, and last year's Experian data shows just what kind of toll this can take on your finances:

In 2019, these were the average debt balances by age group, including mortgages:

  • Gen Z (ages 18 to 23): $9,593
  • Millennials (ages 24 to 39): $78,396
  • Gen X (ages 40 to 55): $135,841
  • Baby boomers (ages 56 to 74): $96,984
  • Silent generation (ages 75 and above): $40,925

As you can see, from ages 23 to 39, there's huge potential for debt to increase. In the decade from your mid 20s to your mid 30s, your responsibilities ramp up as you prioritize your long-term goals. The desire to settle down, start a family, go on memorable vacations and/or relocate to higher cost-of-living areas with better job prospects might motivate your financial decisions more than in your early 20s, when priorities like graduating from college, finding your first apartment and learning to get by on an entry-level budget were most important.

To start preparing for the road ahead, it's good to know where your finances stand today. Start by pulling your free credit report and signing up for a free credit monitoring service.

Experian offers a free credit monitoring service that allows you to sign up without providing a credit card number and gives you a one-stop look at your entire borrower profile. See all of your credit cards and loans, plus their balances, in one place. Keep track of your on-time payments and monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity.

Experian Free Credit Monitoring

Experian Free Credit Monitoring
On Experian's secure site
  • Cost

    Free

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian

  • Credit scoring model used

    FICO

  • Dark web scan

    Yes, one-time only

  • Identity insurance

    No

Terms apply.

If you want a more robust service with better fraud protection, check out IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit, which offers the most extensive security features that monitor your information on a variety of sites and services, including the dark web, court records and social media (checks if your accounts on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have inappropriate activity that may be perceived as profane or discriminatory).

Consumers receive alerts for potential fraud on your bank, credit card and investment accounts, as well as the use of your medical ID, social security number and address.

IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit

IdentityForce® UltraSecure and UltraSecure+Credit
On Identity Force's secure site
  • Cost

    For a limited time, get 25% off UltraSecure+Credit and 2 months free on all annual plans. That's $17.99/mo or $179.90/yr for UltraSecure+Credit and $8.99/mo or $89.90/yr for UltraSecure

  • Credit bureaus monitored

    Experian, Equifax and TransUnion

  • Credit scoring model used

    VantageScore

  • Dark web scan

    Yes

  • Identity insurance

    Yes, up to $1 million

See our methodology, terms apply. To learn more about IdentityForce®, visit their website or call 855-979-1118. 

Once you know where your credit stands, take steps to get your finances in order. Make a plan to pay off your debt, read advice about saving for retirement and learn the must-know credit card basics. That way, when you decide the next stop on your financial journey, you're well prepared for what's ahead.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.