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Study: Younger generation carrying more credit card debt

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- A new survey said when it comes to credit cards debt, a lot of people aren't doing as well as their mom and dad did at their age.

The Ohio State University study said that people born between 1980 and 1984 have an average of over $5,600 more credit card debt than their parents had at their age. They have $8,100 more than their grandparents.

Mike Sullivan of the Take Charge America Credit Counseling Service disagrees.

"Actually, I don't find Americans in their 20s and 30s having more credit card per se," he said. "I do find that ones we talked to have more debt than their parents did, but it's not necessarily credit card debt."

And, in fact, Sullivan said his experience is that young people have less debt than they did a few years ago.

"The total amount of credit card debt is actually down a little bit, even though the total amount of debt is up," he said.

Ohio State University Economics Professor Lucia Dunn co-authored the study. She said in a statement to NBC News that "our projections are that the typical credit card holder among younger Americans who keep a balance will die still owing money on their cards."

While Sullivan does not agree that people in their 20s and 30s have as much credit card debt as their parents and grandparents, he said they are taking longer to pay off their student loans and other debt. He believes that by the time they reach retirement age, they will be deeper in debt than their parents and grandparents are now.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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