Thompson Law Group, P.C.

Warrendale, Pennsylvania, Bankruptcy Law Blog

Credit card debt is a growing problem for college students

Debt used to seem like a problem that only people of a certain age  or those who were very poor with money ever dealt with. Now, even young adults in Pennsylvania are finding that getting through life without some kind of debt is not only difficult, but it often seems next to impossible. With a large number of U.S. college students carrying around some type of credit card debt, the problem could get worse for these young adults before it gets better.

EVERGI and AIG conducted a study that involved over 30,000 college students attending more than 440 different institutions. According to that survey, more than 33% of students have a balance of at least $1,000 on their credit cards. The researchers conducting the study used this information to determine that college students have been routinely taking on more and more credit card debt since 2012.

Saving the car is easier than you think

Not everyone realizes that there is more than one type of bankruptcy. After all, portrayals of fictional characters going through bankruptcy often end up being vague, giving only the bare minimum of information. As a result, some people in Pennsylvania might be surprised to learn that saving the car during bankruptcy might be easier than they thought. This is particularly true for those who are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a portion of a person's assets are usually sold off to satisfy creditors. After this, the remainder of the filer's debt is discharged. This is not how Chapter 13 works. People who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are usually those who have the financial means and income sufficient for a three to five year repayment plan. Unsecured debts left over at the end of the repayment plan is discharged.

Where is all this credit card debt coming from?

Avoiding debt may feel like an impossible dodging act. Whether taking out a loan to attend school or to purchase a vehicle for getting to work, Pennsylvania consumers might struggle to pay off their balances and debts. The problem is especially tricky when it comes to credit card debt. So what's making it so difficult for people to pay off their credit cards?

Advertising is perhaps partly to blame for the meteoric rise in credit card debt. While ads and commercials have been around for plenty of other generations, millennials have to contend with a new world of advertising. No longer are ads relegated to commercial breaks and magazines, but they are now in social media feeds. An Allianz Life survey discovered that 25% of Gen Xers and 50% of millennials had unexpectedly spent money on something because they spotted it on social media.

Credit card debt is a big problem

Having and using a credit card is not inherently bad. Many Pennsylvania consumers use credit cards for added security when making purchases or to earn rewards points for making additional purchases. There are also downsides to using credit cards too, especially when it comes to overspending. For some consumers, ending up with too much credit card debt is easier than they may believe.

American consumers collectively owe $1 trillion on their credit cards. The Federal Reserve reported that in 2017 the average adult had $6,814 in credit card debt alone. While this alone is a significant sum to repay, interest rates can end up ballooning original debts to much larger sizes. Many people end up paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest before fully paying off their balances.

Be cautious concerning advice to settle credit card debt

When it comes to resolving debt, there is always plenty of well-meaning advice. Unfortunately, those making the suggestions will likely never have to face the consequences of a wrong decision.

As one U.S. News article points out, the good news is that credit card debt is unsecured. That this debt is unsecured will prevent the credit card company from seizing your car or your home. However, credit card debt could still stop you from having the money available to make car or house payments.

An alternative to courtrooms

Citizens have rights and states have laws. Throughout history, we’ve looked to juries and judges to enforce them in court. However, court fees can add up and scheduling a hearing drags out the process.

Now, mediation introduces a new way to solve legal issues without going to court.

Is tax time your time to file bankruptcy?

Typically, people around the country use tax time as an opportunity to file bankruptcy. In many cases, a tax refund can be used to pay for the bankruptcy.

This year, however, due to new tax rules, many people who were planning to use their refunds to pay for a bankruptcy find that their refund is smaller than usual or even nonexistent. Worse, in some cases, they are learning they actually owe money, sometimes huge amounts.

Distracted driving causes many accidents in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents are undoubtedly aware of the dangers in encountering a distracted driver. A person operating a motor vehicle needs to pay strict attention to the road. The temptation of a cellphone and the multitude of uses it has is making it difficult for people to adhere to that basic safety requirement and it is leading to a spate of distracted driving car accidents. This is added to the other distractions that existed before the cellphone.

The scope of the problem is consistently referenced in research studies and by anecdotal evidence from law enforcement and emergency responders, yet it continues. The Department of Transportation in the state says that the most common reason for auto accidents in 2017 was distracted driving. Cellphones are a problem. However, such acts as adjusting the temperature settings in the vehicle and interacting with passengers is also a major risk. There were more than 15,600 accidents because of distracted drivers in 2017. This surpassed alcohol as the most common factor in accidents, which came in at more than 10,300. Next was speeding, at nearly 4,200.

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