Credit Card Debt

How Credit Card Debt Affects Your Health

Credit card debt can cause a lot of damage, and not just to your credit score. Credit card debt can cause stress and wreak havoc on relationships. It can also lead to depression, anxiety, and other health problems. Once you are in debt, reaching your financial goals becomes much harder. Spending money paying debt leaves you with less money for retirement savings, purchasing a home, and achieving other financial milestones.

According to a recent study, carrying significant debt can lead to more than just a bad day. Researchers followed a group of baby boomers, starting when they were between the ages of 28 and 40 and then checking in with them again in their 50’s and older. The group was then separated into subgroups based on how much unsecured debt they had. According to the data, the more unsecured debt a person had, the higher level of physical pain he or she lived with when compared to individuals in the other groups.

This study is not the first one conducted on the effects of debt on consumers’ overall health. This research, however, does show that a link exists between physical pain and how much debt a person is carrying.

The study evaluated the financial and health situations of 7,850 people within the Baby Boomer generation, originally starting with their responses the 1979 National Longitudinal Study of Youth. The researchers found that individuals who consistently carried high debt levels had a 76 percent greater chance of reporting daily chronic pain in their lives as compared to consumers who reportedly had very little to no debt.

Even individuals who had taken steps to reduce their overall debt load reported higher levels of physical pain with a 50 percent higher chance of individuals within this group feeling chronic pain.

Several different factors can play into why debt has such a negative impact on a person’s health. If a person has a significant amount of debt, he or she likely has fewer resources to use towards other areas of his or her life that would help prevent any medical issue, including adequate healthcare and preventive medicine.

Additionally, debt can lead to extra stress on that person, which can result in higher blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and other serious health issues.

It is for this reason that experts recommend consumers rid themselves of their debt load as much as possible, whether this be through payment plans with the creditors, debt consolidation or filing for bankruptcy.

When it comes to filing bankruptcy, secured debt is handled differently than unsecured debt. If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, unsecured debt normally ends up being discharged at the end of the case, while secured debt can stay with the asset. If you are struggling to pay unsecured debt, such as credit cards or medical bills, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case may be a viable option for dealing with the debt. If you are struggling to pay for both secured and unsecured debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case may be a good option to allow you to continue paying on your mortgage and stay in your home while discharging unsecured debt at the end of the payment period. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your financial situation, after looking at the different types of debt you are carrying to determine which plan is best for you.

Please click here to read more.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

When Is Filing for Bankruptcy the Best Option?

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never an easy one. Many individuals hold off on filing for fear of what it will do to their credit or worse, fear of the unknown. For many consumers, taking that first step and initiating a bankruptcy case can be the best option for them. The key is deciding when to take that step.

The longer a person stays in debt, struggling to pay bills, defaulting on liabililities, the worse the financial damage will be.  Not to mention the emotional toll it takes.  By not taking action, a person can risk being sued by thier creditors or having their wages garnished. Credit card companies, creditors and even the IRS can take legal action to garnish your wages to pay off outstanding debt.

Credit Card Debt, Debt Collection, Debt Relief

How Much Debt is Too Much? Here are the Warning Signs.

For many people the word ‘debt’ is a four letter word. A word that resonates a certain fear and anxiety, oftentimes associated with credit card bills and collection calls. However, taking on certain kinds of debt can serve as a means to an end. For example, borrowing money to go to college and earn a degree, starting a business, or purchasing a home or car.

Determining how much debt is too much debt can be tricky. If you have a good job, are in good health, and keep track of your finances, and interest rates, debt can be managed effectively. If used wisely, and for things that grow in value, like a home or education, it can be useful.

Consumer Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Filings Fall to Levels Not Seen Since 1985

Bankruptcy filings have fallen to levels not seen since the mid-1980’s. The low number of filings are credited to the government aid and stimulus checks issued since the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, 462,309 individuals and companies filed for bankruptcy in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021, which is a 32 percent decrease from the previous year. The office also noted that this figure was the lowest one reported for a 12-month period since 1985.

Personal bankruptcy filings decreased 33 percent to approximately 444,000 over the course of a year. Business filings similarly declined, although by a lower percentage. Business bankruptcy cases dropped by 17 percent to approximately 22,500 filings.

Bankruptcy Law, Consumer Bankruptcy

Understanding the Ins and Outs of Bankruptcy

The thought of filing for bankruptcy can conjure up all kinds of emotions. For many, all they know of bankruptcy is what they have heard from others or seen on television advertisements. However, the following information can be helpful in terms of understanding the ins and outs of consumer bankruptcy.

Types of Consumer Bankruptcy.

If a consumer is considering filing for bankruptcy, he or she has two options available. These options are based on the specific chapters within the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The first option is called Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 case tends to take only several months to complete and involve the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to sell nonexempt assets and pay off qualifying debts. At the end of the case, the remaining consumer debts held by the filer are discharged. However, to qualify for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filer needs to be below a certain income threshold per the bankruptcy court’s means test.

The other option is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which takes three-to-five years to complete and involves the filer working with the bankruptcy trustee to complete a structured repayment plan on the consumer’s debts. Chapter 13 cases, since they take longer, do cost more in terms of legal fees.

Credit Card Debt

Three Credit Card Mistakes To Avoid

A credit card can be a useful tool when it comes to improving a consumer’s credit score or financing large purchases. However, when credit card spending gets out of hand, it can be easy for that balance to grow out of control. The following tips can be helpful for consumers using credit cards to pay for daily expenses.

Avoid Maxing Out Credit Cards

Most credit cards come with a maximum spending limit, and while it can be tempting to rely on that figure when making credit card purchases, it is important that consumers avoid reaching that maximum amount. One reason for avoiding this is a maxed-out credit card can reflect negatively on a consumer’s credit score. If a consumer uses more than 30 percent of his or her available credit, his or her credit score will be reduced. This reduction occurs because credit utilization ratios are considered by credit reporting agencies when calculating a person’s credit score. Many credit cards also tack on fees to the person’s balance if he or she goes over the card’s limit.

Debt Relief

What is Debt Relief and When Should I Seek It?

Debt can seem like an insurmountable burden, impossible to escape once a consumer has gotten too far in. Different options are available for dealing with credit card debt, student loan debt, and other consumer debts.  

Many times, consumers find themselves overwhelmed with several different types of debt in differing amounts.

Credit Card Debt

Negotiating a Lower Interest Rate on Credit Cards

Paying down a credit card balance can be difficult, especially if the card carries a high interest rate. According to CreditCards.com, the average credit card interest rate in the U.S. is 16.15 percent (16.15%), and for many consumers, their interest rate is significantly higher, which can make paying off large balances very difficult. The good news is credit card interest rates can be negotiated, so long as the consumer knows how to do it.   

It helps to do some preparation before contacting the credit card company. The consumer should first be aware of what his or her credit score is before making contact. The credit card company will closely examine the consumer’s credit score, as well as his or her payment history. Every consumer is entitled to a free annual credit report, which should be closely reviewed before calling the credit card company. Be aware of all missed payments or late payments in case these are brought up in conversation.  

Credit Card Debt

Credit Card Debt Drops a Staggering $56.5 Billion in First Quarter of 2021

Credit card balances saw a record reduction during the first quarter of 2021, after a previous record-setting reduction year was seen in 2020.  According to a study published by the personal-finance website WalletHub, American consumers paid off $56.5 billion in credit card debt during the first quarter of 2021. 

WalletHub reported that American consumers paid off $82.1 billion in credit card debt in 2020, which is a significant accomplishment considering the challenges many people faced last year. However, this decrease in credit card balances does not necessarily mean that the credit card debt crisis has been solved. There is still a collectively $900 billion in outstanding credit card debt. The average household carries a balance of $7,519, and these figures are expected to rise. In fact, WalletHub is projecting consumers will add $60 billion to the nation’s total credit card balances.  

The quarter one decrease in credit card debt was 51 percent larger than the average credit balance paydown since the Great Recession.   

Certain U.S. cities did better than others in paying down credit card balances. Pembroke Pines, Florida, ranked number five on WalletHub’s list with an average household credit card debt of $16,549 and a total credit card debt of $948,650,144. Pembroke Pines citizens paid a total of $64,124,649 of this credit card debt with an average household balance paydown of $1,119.  

Fort Lauderdale came in 24th on the list of cities that did well in paying down their credit card balances. The average Fort Lauderdale household carried $14,400 in credit card debt with a total debt in the amount of $1,073,761,245. Of this amount, Fort Lauderdale residents paid down $72,581,618.  

Financial analysts believe that this data shows that U.S. consumers are in good financial shape in 2021. However, they do anticipate a $60 billion national increase by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, considering the fact that COVID stimulus packages and additional unemployment benefits will phase out this year.  

As bankruptcy attorneys, we see credit card debt as one of the most common problems facing those with serious financial challenges.  It is not surprising with the high interest rates, unreasonable fees, harassing debt collection calls, penalties and never-ending minimum payments that do not even make a dent in your actual debt.

Filing for bankruptcy is a viable option for those struggling with insurmountable credit card debt. Chapter 7 is the fastest form of consumer bankruptcy and forgives most unsecured debts like credit card debt, medical bills and personal loans.  There are certain qualifications a consumer must meet in regards to income, assets and expenses to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is determined by the bankruptcy means test.

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.   

 

Credit Card Debt

Which Debts Should You Pay First After Paying Off Your Credit Cards?

Credit card debt is not the only type of consumer debt people struggle with. Once this debt is paid off in full, it helps to have a plan on which debts to tackle next.

According to data from the Federal Reserve and TransUnion, American consumers paid off a total of $82.9 billion in credit card debt in 2020. Credit card balances continued to drop by $49 billion in the first quarter of 2021, which is the second-largest quarterly balance decline seen since 1999. Despite this fact, more than 20 million American consumers have their student loan debts in forbearance.  

For the most part, financial advisors recommend that consumers pay down any debts they have that carry the highest interest rates, which is why credit cards are usually the first focus. With stimulus programs still in place, providing extra income to consumers temporarily, many financial advisors argue a different theory should be followed. 

Instead of focusing on the debt with the highest interest rate, consumers should look at all their debts and consider other options, such as refinancing other debt sources to lower their interest rates or modify payments. Refinancing could be a possibility for unsecured personal loans, as well as for mortgage debt.  With lower interest rates, consumers are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to save money and lower monthly payments, making it easier to pay off debts in full. 

Once credit card debt is paid off, many financial advisors recommend that consumers focus next on paying off their car loans. A car loses its value significantly as soon as it is driven, which is why so many consumers find themselves owing more on the car loan than the vehicle is worth. The interest rates of car loans tend to be moderate to high, although not always as high as credit card debt, depending on the consumer. Many times, it is advisable to either sell the car and use the proceeds to pay off what is owed on the loan or to refinance the loan.   

Once personal loans, credit card debt, and car loans are paid off by the consumer, it may then be advisable to pay off outstanding federal student loans. Since payments and interest is paused on federal student loans until September 30, 2021. During this time, any payment will go towards principal and not interest rate. Paying down this debt will only help improve the consumer’s credit score. 

Please click here to read more.  

If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.