Debt is Putting More Pressure on Americans

debt-pressure

Your mounting debts can be creating enough stress to make you sick.  The more debts, the greater the pressure to meet them, and the greater your stress level can become.  It’s no wonder that researchers at the Ohio State University found that people with higher levels of debt showed higher levels of physical impairment and worse health than those with lower levels of debt.

If you’re stressed over debt, it can cause problems in all areas of your life. You’re likely to be less productive at work, and your family life is likely to be affected.  Financial pressure leading to arguments over money is a major cause of divorce.  And adding to the stress are the accompanying harassment by creditors and the fear of repossession of your property and foreclosure on your home.

Statistics from the Federal Reserve Board show that:

  • U.S. consumer debt (credit cards plus car loans) recently passed$2 TRILLION, which averages $7,296 per person.
  • Some consumers carry balances that are more than their annual salaries.

Debt is a big problem, but there are answers.  The skilled and seasoned Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer understand that even the most well-intentioned people can find themselves in a financial hole.  We offer a free consultation to evaluate your financial situation.  We can help by looking at your debts, your income, and your goals and coming up with a debt-relief plan that’s best for you.

Attitudes That Contribute to Debt

According to a recent Gallup poll, the amount of debt Americans carry is staggering and grows every day. The poll divides Americans into groups and finds that certain groups are more apt to run up credit card debt than others.  One group is people who don’t have enough to live comfortably.  Another is Americans who enjoy spending money more than saving money.

People who say they don’t have enough money to live comfortably appear to be running up high-interest credit to supplement their resources. These people carry 36% larger credit card balances than those who say that they do have enough money.  The situation is worse among millennials, where those who say that they don’t have enough money to live comfortably carry three times more credit card debt and more auto loan debt and personal loan debt than those who say they have enough.

People who say they enjoy spending money usually earn more, but they also carry more debt.  In general, Americans who enjoy spending money carry more credit card debt (81% more), more student loan debt (4% more), more auto loan debt (6% more) and more personal loan debt (37% more) than those who prefer saving it.

Sources of Debt

While student loan debt is associated with the highest level of indebtedness, another major problem is credit card debt.  In Ohio, the most common sources of debt are:

1)     Student Loan Debt

The Gallup poll found student loan debt was associated with the highest level of debt, especially for millennials.  And those with student loan debt were also more likely to take out a car loan, another large debt burden.

2)       Medical Debt

Medical debt is the most common cause of people filing for bankruptcy in Ohio. Even for those with insurance, a major-medical problem can cause bills to mount up, and since people often take on additional credit-card debt to cover medical bills, debt increases rapidly.

3)     Credit Card Debt

Transunion, a large personal credit rating agency, reported that in the second quarter of 2016 the average consumer card balance in Ohio was $4,933, with a 2015 average credit score of 631, showing a significant downturn.

4)     Mortgage Debt

According to a survey by GOBankingRates.com, the top source of debt for people in Ohio is mortgage debt, with an average of $125,359 in mortgage debt at the end of the first half of 2016.

What to do About Debt Stress

If you have found yourself in a situation where debt stress is more than you can handle, the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Atlanta offers the following tips:

  • Know how much you owe. Add up all your credit card statements and other bills.
  • Create a plan to pay off your current debt gradually over time by trimming expenses or increasing your income or both.
  • Don’t make credit card purchases until you pay off your current balances. Then, do not charge anything unless you can pay off the balance in 90 days or less.
  • Commit to managing your money. Set aside time twice a month to managing your finances — paying bills, balancing your checkbook, and analyzing your expenses.
  • Get Credit Counseling if you need it. Credit Counseling is an educational service where you meet with a counselor who helps you go through your debts and make plans to pay them off. Contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (debtadvice.org/).

If you have taken these steps and still find yourself drowning in debt, you may want to consider the fresh start available by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a legal way to have many debts forgiven. The most common types are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.  Chapter 7 provides a discharge of most unsecured debt generally allowing you to keep your house and car while Chapter 13 allows you to repay your liabilities through a a three- to five-year payment plan to have debts forgiven.

Contact Us For Help

If your debt stress has become overwhelming, we can provide a helping hand. The experienced and compassionate Ohio debt relief attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer offer a free consultation to evaluate your entire financial situation. We will examine your income, your debts and your goals and discuss the best fit for you.  We will make sure you are aware of all your options and help you decide on the path to a brighter future that makes sense in your individual case.  We understand what you are going through and will handle every phase of the process.

Delaying can only make your situation worse, so call the Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer today!  Call one of our conveniently located office branches at 614-228-4435 (Columbus), 937-222-7472 (Dayton), or 877-654-5297 (Cincinnati) or email for your free consultation so we can determine what debt relief solutions will work best for you.

 

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