Credit card debt can be bad for your health as well as your pocketbook, but if you aren’t paying off what you owe each month, you have plenty of company. According to the American Bankers Association, 43 percent of card holders carry a balance each month, and the Federal Reserve reports that outstanding card debt has hit its highest point ever, surpassing $1 trillion in 2017.
It’s not surprising that this situation leads to health issues. Owing money and paying high interest rates leads to increased stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep — all factors that can cause worsening health.
One study made in 2000 by researchers at Ohio State University’s Center for Survey Research found that people who reported stress about their debt showed higher levels of physical impairment and reported worse health than those with lower levels of debt. The association between debt and health was significant even after factors such as age and income were taken into account.
Stress from credit card debt is a big problem, but there are answers to breaking the cycle that leads to health issues. 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 by looking at your debts, your income, and your goals and coming up with a debt-relief plan that’s best for you. 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.
Why Credit Card Debt is Such a Problem
Our economy has been growing, bringing higher prices, increased spending and rising credit card debt. Using credit cards can be an excellent way to manage purchases – as long as you pay off the balance each month.
Unfortunately, too many Americans rely on their credit cards to keep pace with increased living costs. The average American has about three credit cards and a total balance of $6,375, up nearly 3 percent from last year, according to Experian’s annual study on the state of credit and debt in America. And since credit cards are one of the most expensive ways to borrow, people find themselves deeper in debt and dealing with increased stress and health issues.
Those who don’t pay what they owe in a timely fashion, or pay only the minimum balance, wind up in situations where debt snowballs quickly, accumulates and never gets paid off. The average credit card interest rate is 14.87 percent, and the average household pays a total of $904 in credit card interest each year, according to NerdWallet.
Health issues arise because many people with credit card debt find themselves continually worried, unable to fall asleep or eat properly. The stress can lead to anxiety, depression, fear, shame, embarrassment, and anger at themselves and others, and it can prevent people from functioning at work, at home and in their daily lives. Mental health problems that have been linked with debt include suicide, depression, psychotic disorders, drug dependence, problem drinking and neurotic disorder.
The higher the debt-to-asset ratio, the higher the likelihood of experiencing stress-related health issues.
What to do About Debt Stress
If you have found yourself in a situation where debt stress is beginning to affect your health, consider these 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.
- Note which credit cards have the highest interest and pay these off first. Or pay off the cards with the smallest balances first to give yourself some momentum. Move some debt to no-interest credit cards if you are able to do so.
- 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.
- 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.
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 is a full liquidation of all assets that will eliminate many debts, including those for credit cards. Chapter 13 may allow you to keep property, such as a mortgaged house, while you complete a three- to five-year affordable payment plan to have debts forgiven.
Contact Us and Get Help
Don’t let your credit card debts mount up to where they are affecting your health. Take the first step toward debt relief and CONTACT US TODAY FOR A FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.
During your consultation at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer, we will evaluate your entire financial situation and determine the best fit for your particular circumstances. 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 will walk you through the process every step of the way.
Delaying can only worsen your situation, so call the Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Fesenmyer Cousino Weinzimmer at 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.