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In the Red and Got the Blues: Debt Fuels Depression In the Red and Got the Blues: Debt Fuels Depression

In the Red and Got the Blues: Debt Fuels Depression

by Dave Burdick
January 15, 2013

Here's a study whose findings we've all seen in action, but maybe never identified: debt can be depressing. Literally. Here's this, from Boston College's Financial Security Project

Lawrence Berger, an associate professor of social work at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, determined that a 10-percent increase in the dollar amount of an individual’s debt increases his or her depressive symptoms by 14 percent.

The findings, the post explains, are specific to short-term debt like credit card debt. 

That can sound familiar to folks who try to avoid thinking about those or other bills. I recently read a pretty interesting post on a couple that had deluded themselves into thinking they had very little debt at all—entirely ignoring their credit card debt:

I was still feeling pretty good about their prospects when I asked them to go home and make up a list of all their debts.

The results were alarming: In addition to the $15,000 in car loans, they were also carrying a camper loan for just under $10,000, and over $25,000 in credit card debt, for a total of about $50,000 in consumer debt. The worst part was that several of their credit cards were department store cards, and they were paying 18 to 19 percent interest.

Yikes. Time to make a budget, set some financial goalsgive yourself an allowance and practice some good old-fashioned spending nothing. You might find Mint useful, too.

Photo via Flickr (cc) user numberstumper.

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