We all know the all-too-familiar feeling of getting to the front of the line after a long day of last-minute Christmas shopping and pulling out the credit card with reckless abandon.
"I'll put it on the Amex," we tell ourselves and don't think about it again until after the New Year rolls around.
According to a personal finance study by Creditcards.com, this quickness to splurge around the holidays could be the reason for high amounts of credit card debt in the South. The study evaluated ten states - nine of which were southern states - as having the highest amounts of credit card debt in the country.
The top five states were New Mexico, Louisiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Mississippi, with Louisiana sitting in second place. It is evident that a state's ranking in credit card debt is directly related to the state's median annual household income, which affects a household's ability to pay off its debt.
According to Creditcards.com, the typical American household that earns $61,937 can pay off a credit card balance of $8,407 in 13 months with an interest charge of $1,005.
"This study illustrates how your income has a huge effect on your ability to pay off your credit card debt," explained CreditCards.com industry analyst Ted Rossman. "If you're in debt, regardless of where you live, I recommend balance transfer cards and seeking opportunities to raise your income and lower your expenses. Taking on a side hustle can dramatically reduce your debt payoff time and total interest expense."