Mortgages Are the Happiest Type of Debt

June 19, 2019

A mortgage may be Americans’ biggest amount of debt, but they view it as the best type to have. Americans with mortgages have the highest level of life satisfaction than those with other forms of debt, such as medical, student loan, or credit card debt. The findings come from the Ascent team by The Motley Fool, who surveyed more than 1,000 Americans with debt to learn more about the psychological impact of debt.

Consumer debt has been on the rise for the past 17 quarters, and most Americans have some form of it. For example, more than half of those who went to college say they took on debt to complete their education, the study showed.

Debt can be stressful. Ninety-seven percent of those surveyed say they believe they would be happier if they did not have debt at all. For 71% of respondents, debt is on their mind more than they want it to be; 28% say they think of it every day. Credit card debt is the debt most associated with feelings of guilt. Still, one in three people with a mortgage blame themselves for their debt.

“Loans can hang over your head like a black cloud,” the study authors note.

Nevertheless, mortgage debt was the most satisfying type of debt for those surveyed. People with medical loans were the least satisfied.

A chart correlating types of debt with life satisfaction.

The Ascent from Motley Fool

Americans are still working to get out of debt, even debt that could last 30 years such as mortgages. Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they pay the minimum on their mortgage, but 21% say they pay more than the minimum payment.

Credit card, medical, and other forms of debt can impact consumers’ ability to save money for their future, treat themselves occasionally, and live their desired lifestyle, consumers most frequently said. Thirty-four percent said their debt affected how much they could afford housing too.

Source: 
Study: The Psychological Cost of Debt,” The Ascent by The Motley Fool (May 17, 2019)