When I asked my parents about their finances 30 years ago, they told me something interesting. They each had one credit card, no home equity line of credit, and they both had steady jobs. They had a small mortgage with an interest rate of over 18%!! There seemed to be more of a mentality back then to spend what you earned. Today, people are financing their lives on FOUR credit cards, lines of credit, furniture cards, car loans and any other kind of loan they can get their hands on. Household debt is surpassing people's household family income!
You have to ask yourself a simple question. Is it the credit card company's fault for giving out credit cards like candy and charging 20% interest? Or is it the consumer's responsibility to spend responsibly. I am sympathetic to the fact that in today's economy people aren't earning as much and are losing their jobs. The problem is that people today are living their lives on lines of credit/credit cards. You could finance a year of your life with $25,000 by using them. The scarier trend is that, as interest rates stay low and home values stay high, people are pulling the max 85% equity out of their homes.
Eventually, something has to give. The Baby-Boomer generation has no savings for their retirement and their children will not be able to support their own family and their parents. The average person that retires at 65 and lives to 85 will need $500,000 to retire comfortably.