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One financial fear scares millennials even more than death

Death can be a frightening thought. But, according to a survey from financial-advice website Credible, there's one thing that scares millennials even more: having credit-card debt.

Of the 500 Americans polled who are currently in credit card debt, more than 33 percent said debt is the scariest aspect of their daily lives.

That's compared to 20 percent who said the same about the thought of dying, 17 percent who said the same of war, 11 percent who are most afraid of having to work forever and 6 percent who are most afraid of climate change.

The findings make sense, according to Credible. Americans hold more than $1 trillion in credit card debt and, among the respondents, the average debt is a whopping $5,290.

Accruing interest is the scariest aspect of credit card debt, according to 33 percent of respondents. About 32 percent said the same of making monthly payments.

When asked how they got into debt, 34 percent said it was due to an emergency expense, 32 percent said their debt is due to a large one-time purchase and 4 percent said they choose not to pay their debt despite having the resources to do so.

In addition, one in five respondents say they rely on their credit card to supplement their monthly income.

However, millennials are becoming more responsible with, and knowledgeable about, their money.

"An overwhelming majority said they planned to change their spending habits in order to get a handle on their debt," the survey says.

And "a full 80 percent of respondents reported being at least somewhat confident that they would be able to erase their debt within the next 12 month. More than half were very or extremely confident that they would be debt free within the year."

Credit card debt can be less scary once you have a plan for paying it off. One popular strategy is the snowball method, where you begin paying your smallest debt first and then, when it's paid off, move to the next largest one.

Redd Horrocks, a self-employed voice actor, paid off $39,000 in debt in five years using this method, and Phil Risher, a customer service rep, paid off $30,000 in one year with it.

And to decrease the fear that can accompany debt, try your best to pay off your balance in full every month. If you can't, financial expert Tom Corley says you might be living beyond your means and need to cut back. Or, like Mark Cuban, you could try to avoid credit cards altogether.

"While credit cards can be a powerful tool for building your credit and an invaluable resource in an emergency, getting out of credit card debt can be terrifying," according to the survey. But on a positive note, "millennials seem to already be aware of [their] options … and seem confident that they can quickly regain control of their finances."

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