This debt smart story is sponsored by America First Credit Union – The member-owned, not-for-profit cooperative financial institution is the largest credit union in the state of Utah.

The “Great Recession” changed us.  It really did.  And new information from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York proves it.  The data says that even though household debt has once again reached a new high, our credit card debt is still below pre- recession levels.  We also don’t spend as much on mortgages.  Once bitten twice shy.  The “Great Recession” made us debt smart.

Thayne Shaffer, Senior Vice President at America First Credit Union, Joined KSL News Radio’s Jeff Kaplan to talk about how to learn from the past and be smart with debt.


There is some other good news as well.  Delinquent loan rates are down as are bankruptcies.  We are more comfortable with the economy and so we’re borrowing more money.  


When you feel more secure financially, you may be tempted to go into a little debt.  There are a few things you should think about.  You might buy into the philosophy of “good debt” vs. “bad debt”.  A mortgage, for example, was often considered to be “good debt”.  But the recession showed us many mortgages can be terrible debt.  

America First Credit Union Senior Vice President Thayne Shaffer recommends a cautious approach to any debt.  While a loan is required for most families to afford a home or car, it has to be done prudently. “Any debt has a downside and before a person goes into any additional debt, it’s a really good practice to consider those downsides in the context of your own personal situation.”


For Shaffer, the data from the Federal Reserve Bank shows that we did learn some lessons from the recession. “Maybe one of the best things we can do with this information is use it as a reminder to pause and evaluate our own situation and make sure we’re planning for the future.”

In considering new debt, consult your loan officer, don’t rush, and focus on your household budget.  Make sure that any new debt will fit in there comfortably.