Americans' debt, often cited as a primary obstacle to consistent and adequate retirement funding, has fallen for many since the financial crisis—but it has ballooned since the 1990s as wages for many have struggled to keep up.

Lower-income Americans' debt levels have been hit hardest since the financial crisis. In 2007, that segment's household's debt was equivalent to one-fifth of their income.

By 2013 it had jumped to half of income, according to new research from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.