"I think you have a whole generation with a different concept of 'private,'" Compeau said. There also is the theory debt has become so common, many younger people have started to just shrug it off. "Anecdotally, I think this is not as big an issue among Millennials," Solomon said. "They have gone through their formative years during a time when debt is much more common, so it's not at all unusual to know people in debt or certainly to read about high rollers who fell off the tracks. "Also, I think this generation has learned -- rightly or wrongly -- that bad things are not their fault -- after all it's all about preserving self-esteem and even games they play in school are structured so there are no 'winners.'" Solomon said. "They seem to be more group-oriented so excessive debt is a symptom of their age group, not a reflection of their own mismanagement."
Nevertheless, Federal Reserve numbers in recent years show some people's feelings about debt finally may be having an effect on their spending. Since 2008, when the country started in recession, consumers have curtailed credit card spending, according to the Federal Reserve. The overall amount of credit card debt dropped 8.8% in 2009 and 7.6% in 2010, before leveling out in recent years. In February, Americans owed $848 billion in revolving debt -- almost all in the form of credit card debt. Written by Chris Metinko for MainStreet