The use of credit cards has been rising in the United States for decades. The result of a cost of living, including medical costs and other sometimes unexpected necessities, that has tended to outstrip real wage gains for the working class, has been that many people are thousands of dollars in debt. Add in the prevalence of high-interest rate cards being available for people with less satisfactory credit, and the pushing by the popular media of a consumer mindset, and you have the makings of a debt crisis in Illinois and across the country.
Some people in Illinois may find credit cards to be frivolous. After all, with a swipe of the card any luxury item can be purchased without thought about how the card owner is going to pay the debt back. However, credit cards are often used for much more necessary purposes. A car repair, a medical bill, even food or gas may all get put on a credit card when a person has no other means to afford these basic life necessities.
During tax season, it is popular for tax preparation companies to advertise refund anticipation loans to placate people who just can’t wait for their refund checks to arrive. These loans are high interest, high risk loans that consumers should stay away from, but given the advertised sales for a number of items (particularly vehicles), it is not surprising that these loans have such a following.
The reports on the national economy for the last several months have been mostly positive. However, there is always one big issue that could be a potential wrecking-ball: debt. Millions of Americans are dealing with debt of all kinds: student loan debt, mortgage debt and, perhaps most important of all, credit card debt. For those Illinois residents who are facing thousands of dollars in credit card debt, a recent article had a few tips on how to dig out from this hole.
Illinois debtors who are experiencing financial trouble and are determining how to proceed might find themselves being contacted by creditors. In some instances, this contact in an attempt to collect on consumer debt might be deemed as creditor harassment. Many debtors are not aware of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and how it protects them from certain forms of contact. Understanding the law and the protections it affords consumers is important when trying to stop these calls and other forms of contact.
Illinoisans find themselves under financial stress for a lot of reasons. Some suffer from medical debt; others are besieged with credit card debt. Whatever the reason for their debt, Illinoisans feeling squeezed may want to consider an option that could provide relief: bankruptcy.
Debt is an equal opportunity problem. It can affect anyone, regardless of race or gender. However, some individuals are more at risk than others of being hounded by debt collection efforts than others, as we noted in a post in May.
When someone in Illinois winds up in hot financial water because of insurmountable bills, too often the greatest burden of guilt is self-imposed. No one is better at making us feel bad about ourselves than us. Unfortunately, credit card issues know this. So do the credit rating reporting companies. And the industry knows how to take advantage of individual consumer debt trouble.
Regular readers of this Illinois bankruptcy blog know that when it comes to resolving credit card debt problems a common theme is the importance of knowing all your options. If you don't know what's possible, it can be very easy to dig an even deeper hole of financial trouble, and getting out of that hole can be hard work. Speaking with an experienced debt relief attorney is always advised.
There's a song that goes, "In the good old summertime…." These are the months that kids relish and teachers describe as the reasons they chose the profession. Because it happens to be a time of greater family travel, it is also a time when the risk is higher of your credit card information being stolen through a skimming device.