USA Today published a story today that, as a bankruptcy lawyer, I find interesting. Specifically, the story discusses current levels of credit card debt carried by Americans. Click here to reference the story published on October 12, 2016, by USA Today.
The good news is that the average amount of credit card debt owed by Americans in 2016 is $3,600.00. That’s where the kind of good news ends. The articles goes on to states that for the average household that carries credit card debt, the average amount of debt owed is $16,048.00. But…..the worst news reported by USA Today is that the average amount of household credit card debt has risen by 10% over the past three (3) years.
Just as you may expect, the best defense to getting into trouble with credit card debt is using it sparingly and making sure that you pay it off each and every month. Often one month that you don’t pay off the credit card in full because of an “unexpected” car repair or some other expense is the beginning of the end of your strong financial house. Once interest shows up one month it gets easier and easier to justify paying only a portion of the balance.
I had the pleasure of practicing before retired Bankruptcy Judge Otte in the Southern District of Indiana. I will not soon forget that Judge Otte often started his Court dockets with a bit of wisdom to share with the attorney and their clients (people in bankruptcy) prior to his hearings one day. Judge Otte asked the room of people the following riddle:
“Do you know why they call it a MasterCard?” The Judge’s answer: “Because they will make you their slave.”
After assisting people in dealing with debt over the past 12 years, this bankruptcy attorney is in complete agreement with the judge. Considering that the interest on these cards is often 18% or more, it is really a terrible option for financing life.
Nonetheless, sometimes the damage is already done and you are sitting there staring at a large pile of credit card debt and beating yourself up about it isn’t going to do any good. If you are one of the people who is sitting on $16,000.00 or more of credit card debt, rest assured that there are options.
At Halcomb Singler, LLP, we meet with people on a daily basis to come up with plans to solve debt issues. They are overwhelmed and looking for a plan to solve their debt. Often, they believe that bankruptcy is the only way to solve their debt issues. Sometimes, that is correct. However, we are also often able to use debt settlement/negotiation, litigation defense, bankruptcy, or sometimes no action whatsoever (in the event that a person does not have any un-exempt assets or income that a creditor could seize) to to solve their debt issues. On other occasions we speak about the possibility of more income.
The bottom line is that there are tools that may be used to help you come up with a plan to solve your debt. Halcomb Singler offers a free consultation to discuss them. We can probably help. If you are a Hoosier struggling with debt come meet with us at our Carmel, Indiana office. Call (317) 575-8222 for your appointment.