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More credit card balances paid off, but many still delinquent

A recent report released by the American Bankers Association found that American credit card usage is up. Yet, the number of people who pay off their entire balances climbed to its highest percentage on record for the last quarter of 2013. The jump, from 28.6 percent to 29 percent, has many economists optimistic that Americans are acting in a more responsible manner with their credit cards. These experts also point to a decrease in delinquencies, with only eight and a half percent of all credit card debt in the first quarter of 2014 being 90 days or more overdue.

Though these numbers may seem positive, and they are a move in the right direction, it is important for Tennesseans to realize that thousands of Americans are still dealing with overwhelming credit card debt. Only eight-and-a-half percent of all credit card debt may be seriously delinquent, but that equates to thousands of people who are unable to make their payment obligations. These individuals are often blindsided by unexpected life changes, and might quickly become overwhelmed by lost wages due to unemployment or medical expenses related to a newly arisen condition.

Individuals who struggle with debt may feel hopeless, but they should not. Debt relief options exist to give these individuals the second chance they deserve. One of the most commonly used options is bankruptcy. Many see filing for bankruptcy as proof of failure, or that they have no control over their lives. This is far from the truth. In fact, filing for bankruptcy is empowering, as it is a way for a debtor to reassert control over his or her financial future. Filing for bankruptcy might allow an indebted individual to shed unsecured debt, or acquire a payment plan that reduces minimum payments and interests rates.

Those who are financially struggling should consider every option, as no two cases are alike. Therefore, speaking with an experienced Tennessee bankruptcy attorney may be beneficial, allowing a debtor to discover debt relief options and advice as to how best to seize the second chance we all deserve.

Source: The Washington Post, "Credit card debt is on the rise. Here's why that's not a bad thing." Danielle Douglas, July 10, 2014

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