The new face of poverty A new Census report shows more people are having bouts of poverty.CNBC's Allison Linn reports they aren't stuck below the poverty line forever, but there are more of them than you may think.Werz, 52, now a public relations and marketing manager at Lansdowne ——Resort, says he racked up ,000 in loans and credit card debt after leaving his job in 2008 to attend golf school and teach at a golf academy in China."When I got back to the states, I shared a house with a fraternity of divorced, white-collar guys trying to save money," he recalled."We cut it off." For most people, escaping from debt is a battle yet won.In 2013, household debt spiked to its highest level since 2008, due to rises in mortgage balances ( billion), student loans ( billion), auto loans ( billion) and credit card debt ( billion.) According to recent statistics, the average American household carries ,270 of credit card debt, 9,925 of mortgage debt and ,258 of student loan debt, totaling 7,453. Like the Lowe family, Phil Werz of Leesburg, Va., had to sacrifice for years to dig himself out of debt.By working extra jobs and allocating all his tax refunds to debt repayment, Werz was debt-free in 30 months.
"We were all doing the same thing, sharing expenses and trying to pay off our lives." Determined to turn his life around, Werz says he became hermit-like, living in a room "no bigger than a mattress" and denying himself pretty much everything he had enjoyed.He paid off his high-interest credit cards first, then tackled his educational and travel debts.Forget consolidation loans, extended credit lines or fancy debt relief agencies. It wants to take away our ability to educate our children, save for retirement, live life to the fullest." Since 2009, Lowe has been chronicling her family's journey from indebtedness to financial freedom on her website, the Queen of Free.A few brave Americans say the only way to escape debt is the hard, sweaty way. "Debt is one of those things that can tear a marriage or a family apart," said Cherie Lowe, 37, a married mother of two from of Greenwood, Ind. She recalls the horror she felt when she realized how much debt her family had accrued—7,000—"with hardly anything to show for it." Terrified for her family's future, she sprang into action.
"I streamlined everything, from what kind of toilet paper I bought to how we prepared meals and cleaned the house," she said. By the fourth year, we weren't eating meat except on weekends." Lowe stopped buying clothes, made her own laundry detergent and disconnected the family's landline telephone.Leaky faucets were fixed, windows were weather-stripped and electrical appliances were unplugged when not in use.