Publications Financial Security Publications Type *Working Paper

Strategies for Debt Reduction: Comparing Financial Tips and Financial Counseling

U.S. households hold increasingly more debt, with almost 80% of adults holding debt of some form. While ownership of debt is widespread, debt burdens can be particularly challenging for low-income households; debt-to-income ratios can be three times higher for these households compared to those with high-incomes. Debt reduction has thus become an aim of initiatives to help lower-income Americans increase their financial well-being. This brief examines two different mechanisms for delivering debt management advice and describes the success of each method in helping individuals reduce their debt.


Fox-Dichter, S., Ryan, M., Kondratjeva, O., & Roll, S. (2020). Strategies for debt reduction: Comparing financial tips and financial counseling (SPI Research Brief No. 20-03). Social Policy Institute at Washington University in St. Louis.