(Courtesy The Urban Institute)

A look at student loan and medical debt across the nation reveals that how much debt a person carried boils down to quite a bit — especially when it comes to race. And that debt has become one of the top five barriers to homeownership.

The Urban Institute’s study of debt — specifically, student loans and medical bills — has some illuminating data when it comes to Dallas County. (more…)

But this one is a total shocker for me: residents in San Antonio, our sizzling sister city to the south, are as maxed-out on their credit cards and debt as are residents of Los Angeles and San Diego. Go figure! These folks carry an average of about $6500 every month in debt. 

Houston is on the list, too, but come on: with all the repairs from Hurricane Harvey underway, Houstonians are likely charging as much as they can, awaiting insurance reimbursement.

Credit card balances in the U.S. are now almost $800 billion, the highest they have been since 2009, according to Federal Reserve data. That is not a good sign, and I was most definitely expecting to see Dallas as being one of the top areas where a consumer might be in trouble with credit. What kind of trouble?  At least one credit card is “maxed-out,” with a balance that is equal to the total credit limit allotted on the account. And they are using revolving credit heavily. Revolving credit was created as a way to buy big ticket items and then pay them off, not make the interest and payments a lifetime payment plan. That makes it hard for consumers to get solid financially, because they are always paying off debt.

The folks at LendingTree analyzed a sample of more than a million (anonymous) My LendingTree users in 50 of the largest metropolitan US areas. They created a “Maxed-Out Score” between 0 to 100 for each metro, with 100 signaling metros where consumers are most maxed-out on their credit. (Personally, I’d love to see a report like this from Citibank.)

The cities with the most maxed-out cards are (more…)