Improving Management of Personal Finances and Debt Relief

Millions of Americans are in debt and looking for a way out. Total U.S. consumer debt is at $13.86 trillion. That includes mortgages, auto loans, credit cards and student loans. In order to move past this, Americans need to focus on managing their finances and prepare for the future.
People Impacted
$ 546B
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

There are now a number of online tools designed for people who want to manage and visualize their personal finances. Low income houses who feel like they are drowning in debt need help accessing these tools and using them in order to eliminate their debt and work toward a brighter future. Paying off debt leads to saving, and saving leads to bigger goals like owning property, running businesses, and being involved in the economies of our communities.

Symptoms and Causes

 Day-to-day costs continue to soar, meaning many Americans are accruing debt to pay for necessities including:

  • Rent

  • Automobiles

  • College Tuition

  • Child Care

Middle class life is now 30% more expensive than it was 20 years ago. The cost of things such as college, housing and child care has risen precipitously: Tuition at public universities doubled between 1996 and 2016 and housing prices in popular cities have quadrupled (CNBC).

the impact
Negative Effects

A majority of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and more than 70% of U.S. adults say they’d be in a difficult situation if their paycheck was delayed by a week. We saw this hypothetical come to nightmarish reality as millions of Americans went without a paycheck during shut down for the COVID pandemic. Without financial stability, many families were left with no option but to charge daily necessities and limit regular spending, which further crippled our economy (CNBC).

Economic Impact

No matter what you’re spending on, it can be more expensive than ever to let that monthly balance roll over. That’s because the average credit card APR has never been higher: Rates are currently sitting at 17.73%, according to Because of that, the interest accrued on monthly balances can quickly add up, digging an even deeper hole of debt (CNBC).

Lack of savings, mounting debt and living from paycheck to paycheck means most families aren't planning for a future or retirement, leaving an entire generation and class of people dependent on government assistance when it is time to retire, making it more likely they will end up in poverty at an older age.

Success Metrics
  • Adding financial education to primary and secondary education curriculum so people understand the basics of savings, interest, stock market, etc.

  • Providing financial advice and access to institutions to the millions of Americans who are currently barred from modern banking systems. People can't begin to save and grow their wealth without access to bank accounts that protect and expand their wealth.

  • Instituting debt relief programs, including eliminating or reducing student loan debt for all Americans so that they can focus their financial efforts on more economy boosting purchases like real estate, cars, etc.

who benefits from solving this problem
Organization Types
  • Banks

  • Credit Unions

  • Debt Relief Programs

  • Social Security Administration

  • Americans in debt

  • Bankers

  • Loan Officers

  • Debt Collectors

  • Financial Advisors

financial insights
Current Funding
  • National Debt Relief

  • Social Security Administration

Ideas Description

1) Apps that focus on personal finances, debt consolidation, etc.

InSight provides a series of online tools designed for people who want to manage and visualize their personal finances. The products are aimed at people on low and medium incomes who may wish to manage a small business.

2) Implementing personal finance education in high school and beyond as required curriculum

Students aren't often advised about basic financial practices including but not limited to loans, paying taxes, interest rates, etc. Without much knowledge on what types of loans exist, and what interest rates could be, students are often told to take out loans to finance their collegiate efforts is their only option, without truly understanding the repercussions of that debt.

Educating Americans on basic finance practices gives them a better chance to build financial independence and stability, breaking the cycle of poverty and debt before it gets out of hand. This means they can make better financial decisions about their personal wealth, and contribute to a growing economy by responsibly spending and investing that wealth.

Data Sources
Contributors to this Page
Input Needed From Contributing Editors
(click on any tag to contribute)