Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief

Average American Consumer Carries over $90,000 in Debt

Most American consumers carry some form of debt. In fact, debt has become a way of life for many Americans. Whenever a big purchase needs to be made, consumers will often apply for financing to pay for this purchase. This can include items like a home, car, furniture, or even for basic purchases.  

According to data from the credit agency, Experian, as of 2019, the average American consumer has $90,460 in debt from various sources, including mortgages, student loan debt, personal loans and credit cards. Escaping this debt load can be tricky, and Experian’s data shows that certain generations struggle more than others when handling consumer debt. 

The Experian study broke down different generational categories by age, examining which group carried more debt.  The lowest debt load was carried by the youngest group, Generation Z. Individuals in this category are between the ages of 18 to 23, and they reported an average debt load of $9,593. The largest debt load by far was carried by members of Gen X, ages 40 to 55, with an average debt load of $135,841. The next highest group was the Baby boomer generation, ages 56 to 74, with an average debt of $96,984. Millennials who are between the ages of 24 and 39 reported carrying an average of $78,396 in debt, while the oldest generation, the Silent generation (ages 75 and older) owed an average of $40,925.  

Experian reported that members of the Baby boomer and Silent generation groups saw the most significant decrease in debt since 2015.  The largest increase in debt over the last five years was seen in the Millennial generation. In 2015, the average millennial had $49,722 in debt. By 2019, this figure had jumped 58 percent to $78,396 in average total debt.  

While members of the youngest group, Gen Z, had the lowest overall debt load, they also struggled the most to make their payments on this debt. According to Experian, 12 percent of Gen Z consumers had credit card accounts that were at least 30 days or more past due.  

Gen X carried the highest average debt in all categories with the exception of personal loans. Members in this group had the highest credit card balances than others with the average balance being at $8,215. Gen X members also had the highest car loan balances at $21,570. They also carried the highest average mortgage balance with the average being $238,344. Gen X also had the highest average student loan balance at $39,981 and highest home equity lines of credit (HELOC) balance at $49,221. However, in the personal loan category, Baby boomers had the highest personal loan balance with the average balance of $19,253.  

Continuing to struggle with debt is a slower, less effective way to pay it off.  Many different debt relief options exist, including debt consolidation, debt settlement or negotiation and bankruptcy – but it is important that as a consumer you research your options carefully. 

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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

How to Negotiate Your Credit Card Debt

When someone owes a large amount of money on credit cards, the possibility of ever paying down that balance can seem impossible. Simply making the minimum monthly payments can be a struggle, as well, especially during the current pandemic. However, credit card companies would rather work with the consumer directly in lieu of the account going into default, forcing them to pursue a collection on the amount owed. It is possible to negotiate directly with the credit card company on the amount owed in certain circumstances.  

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, certain credit card companies are working with consumers who are behind on payment. This assistance is temporary in nature but can include pausing payments, reducing interest rates, waving late fees, and putting a pause on interest charges.  

Bankruptcy Law

The Fear of Bankruptcy is What Keeps Many Consumers from Filing

The fear of the unknown is a powerful force. Unfortunately, the fear of filing for bankruptcy and the unknown keeps many from proceeding with a bankruptcy case, even when it is the best option.

It is for this reason that only a small portion of American consumers file for bankruptcy annually, even though many of them could benefit from either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. While many different reasons exist for this failure to file, a misunderstanding of the process and fear of taking that first step keeps them from moving forward.    

Credit Card Debt

What Happens to Credit Card Debt When a Person Dies?

After an individual dies, one of the big questions that comes up from those handling the estate of the deceased is what happens to that person’s debt? These debts can include medical bills, taxes, and credit card debt. One of the main concerns brought up by clients is whether they will be personally responsible for the credit card debt of their deceased relative. The good news is only the estate will be responsible for any outstanding debt and not the family of the deceased.

Whether the person has a will or no will, his or her estate will need to be processed through probate court. If the deceased had a will, he or she will have named a personal representative who will handle the estate, and if the person has no will, the court will appoint someone to administer the estate.

Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, Medical Debt, student loan debt

Tips for Managing Student Loans, Medical Debt, Credit Cards and More

DMP - Debt Management Plan acronym, business concept background

Consumer debt encompasses several different categories. However, many people often struggle with the same few categories, mainly student loans, medical debt, and credit card debt. It helps to know how to attack the debt individually in each category if a consumer is looking to pay down their various debts.

Student Loan Debt

If you are struggling with student loan debt, you’re not alone. In fact, it has been reported that Americans carry over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt. This figure amounts to an average individual load of $32,731 per student. If the consumer proceeds towards a master’s degree or professional degree following graduation from undergraduate studies, that amount can get into six figures. Paying down that debt can be a struggle for many, especially during recent times. Currently, the federal government has issued a forbearance on all federal student loan debt during the COVID-19 crisis, which has been extended past September 30.

Debt Relief

The Budgeting Mistake That Could Be Keeping You in a Cycle of Debt

Creating a budget can be a challenge but sticking to one can be even harder. For someone who has less than perfect credit, the creation of an affordable monthly budget is crucial.

Consumers who have subprime credit scores, meaning their scores range between 580 and 669 on the FICO scoring model, often struggle with being able to handle a budget that not only meets their needs but actively works towards paying down debt.

Credit Card Debt

4 Cost Effective Ways to Pay Down Credit Card Debt

Paying down credit card debt can seem like a never-ending struggle.  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 and penalties, and never-ending minimum payments that do not seem to make a dent in the total balance.

According to data from the New York Federal Reserve, the total national credit card debt being carried has hit $14.3 trillion, which represents a 1.1 percent increase from the previous quarter. One of the biggest problems’ consumers face when it comes to credit card debt is paying down a large balance or balances once they are incurred. However, certain tactics have been proven to be successful when it comes to paying off credit card debt.

Debt Relief

Debt Relief Services: Helpful or Harmful?

Although filing for bankruptcy can provide considerable relief to those who are facing insurmountable debt, bankruptcy is not always the best choice for everyone. While some may not qualify for bankruptcy, others may wish to use an alternative solution to solve their debt problems. This is where debt relief programs come in, claiming to help consumers negotiate with their creditors and provide a solution to settle the debt.

However, is it safe to use a national debt relief organization to resolve your debts? While some report positive experiences with these companies, others (many others) have reported negative experiences that resulted in them spending more money in the long run. Also, many consumers have been taken advantage of by debt relief companies that ended up collecting fees without actually providing any debt relief services.

Credit Card Debt

The Most Common Credit Card Fees and How to Avoid Them

Most Americans have at least one credit card, if not more, that they use on a regular basis. These credit cards can be useful when paying for monthly expenditures, so long as the balances are kept to a minimum and paid in full. Additionally, most credit cards come with fees that make it nearly impossible to pay the card down if the balance becomes too high. According to a 2019 Consumer Reports study, one-third of American credit card consumers say that they struggle with the fees that came along with their credit cards. It is important that consumers be aware of these fees and take steps necessary to avoid them if possible.

Read the Fine Print

One of the best ways to determine what fees come with a credit card is to carefully review the fine print that comes with the consumer’s credit card contract. If any fees will be charged to the card, this information will be found in that fine print.

student loan debt

The Hidden Cost of Student Loan Debt

According to a recent report from the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC), student loan debt may lead to additional interest paid on other forms of debt, including credit cards and mortgages. Borrowers may not realize just how much their debt can influence these other payments and may be paying higher prices without even realizing it.

The effects of student loan debt are far-reaching. Approximately 44 million Americans carry a collective $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Most of these individuals also carry other forms of debt, the most common of these being mortgages and credit card debt. According to this SBPC study, these individuals are also forced to pay up to tens of thousands more in extra costs when purchasing a home or car or even using their credit card.