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The (Debt) Struggle is Real - Especially for Gen Xers

LightStream survey finds low awareness of debt consolidation as a strategy to manage debt

ATLANTA, Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 80 percent of U.S. consumers consider paying down debt a financial priority1. Yet, a recent LightStream Survey conducted by the Harris Poll* found that 23 percent believe it is nearly impossible to get out of significant debt once you have it.

More than 80 percent of U.S. consumers consider paying down debt a financial priority. Yet, a recent LightStream Survey conducted by the Harris Poll found that 23 percent believe it is nearly impossible to get out of significant debt once you have it.  The LightStream survey also found that 50 percent of Gen Xers have never considered debt consolidation refinancing and 16 percent reported that they didn’t know what a debt consolidation loan was.

"People who are carrying debt often overlook cost-reducing solutions," said Todd Nelson, senior vice president at LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank (NYSE: STI). "As a result, many people, even those with good credit are paying hundreds, often thousands, of dollars in interest on that debt."

According to the survey, this is particularly true for Generation X (ages 36-51), who expressed concern about their financial confidence.  While they are likely heading into their highest earning years, compared to other generations, Gen Xers have also accumulated the most debt. In fact, LightStream found that one in four Gen Xers who are currently in debt (25 percent) say they are not confident in the way they manage it, and 22 percent don't see a way out.

While every demographic group is carrying significant debt, reports that the 2017 average non-mortgage debt level across generations ranged from $6,963 (Gen Z: Born after 1996) all the way up to $30,334 (Gen X).

"Dipping into savings or cashing out investments are certainly options to reduce debt," continued Nelson. "But this may be difficult, particularly for Gen Xers. They're often financially stretched. They're juggling to help their adult children and support aging parents, while also trying to save for emergencies and retirement. That's where debt consolidation can be a smart strategy, especially for Gen Xers with good credit."

The LightStream survey also found that 50 percent of Gen Xers have never considered debt consolidation refinancing and 16 percent reported that they didn't know what a debt consolidation loan was. 

A debt consolidation loan is used to combine and pay off debt, resulting in one, single installment loan.

Especially for those with good credit, consolidation offers a number of important benefits:

  • Gain Financial Control: Most debt consolidation loans are unsecured, with fixed rates which won't get more expensive if interest rates rise. Because a borrower chooses the loan term, a manageable monthly repayment plan and timeline can be selected to put less strain on a budget.
  • Save Money: Debt consolidation financing typically has lower interest rates than credit cards, particularly if you have good credit. It can also be used to refinance other obligations. From credit cards to medical financing and other loans, consumers may save thousands of dollars in interest simply by refinancing their debts at a lower rate — freeing those savings for other productive uses.
  • Boost Credit Score: Revolving debt accounts tend to impact an individual's credit score more than a single installment loan. If your credit has improved since you obtained your cards — or your introductory offers have expired and been replaced with high interest rates — a debt consolidation loan can reduce your costs significantly.
  • Manage Debt with Convenience : With one consolidation loan instead of multiple debts, it is easier to track expenses and pay one monthly bill instead of several. This can increase financial confidence, as having a single payment allows people greater control over their financing.

LightStream knows debt can be overwhelming and choosing a lender can also be daunting. When looking for the right lender, consider the following:

  • Do your research: Determine how much you want to borrow and research lenders that can accommodate your needs. Investigate those with a strong history of reliable financial backing.
  • Don't fall for hidden fees: Check for any fees that may be applied to your loan, as these can significantly raise costs. There are lenders that don't charge any fees.
  • Check their track record: Review a lender's application process, funding speed and overall customer experience ratings.

For more information on debt consolidation loan options, visit

About LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank
LightStream is a national online lending division of SunTrust Bank, which is focused on enhancing the financial confidence of its clients.  LightStream provides unsecured loans to good-credit customers for practically any purpose, including debt consolidation. Financing is available in all 50 states; people need not have a SunTrust account in order to apply. Through a simple online application process, funds can be provided with no fees, on the same day. Click here for important disclosures, including a payment example as well as information on same day funding, LightStream's Rate Beat Program and its $100 Loan Experience Guarantee.

About SunTrust Banks, Inc.
SunTrust Banks, Inc. (NYSE: STI) is a purpose-driven company dedicated to Lighting the Way to Financial Well-Being for the people, businesses, and communities it serves. SunTrust leads onUp, a national movement inspiring Americans to build financial confidence. Headquartered in Atlanta, the Company has two business segments: Consumer and Wholesale. Its flagship subsidiary, SunTrust Bank, operates an extensive branch and ATM network throughout the high-growth Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, along with 24-hour digital access. Certain business lines serve consumer, commercial, corporate, and institutional clients nationally. As of September 30, 2018, SunTrust had total assets of $211 billion and total deposits of $160 billion. The Company provides deposit, credit, trust, investment, mortgage, asset management, securities brokerage, and capital market services. Learn more at

*Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of LightStream from August 29-31, 2018 among 2,027 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, contact LightStream.

1Source: Mintel

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SOURCE SunTrust Banks, Inc.

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