Credit cards are more and more frequently being declined - by consumers.
Recent reports out of Great Britain echo the consumer trend that has been continuing in U.S., with people seeking debt relief by unburdening themselves from lending institutions that often jack up interest rates to boost their bottom line.
While it might seem that a floundering global economy might contribute to a rise in credit card usage, what many people seeking debt relief in Colorado and elsewhere are finding is that owning a credit card simply isn't worth it.
Our Colorado Springs debt relief attorneys know that credit cards are, in fact, one of the leading causes of bankruptcy in the U.S. Most Americans, according to CNNMoney, have racked up an average of more than $10,000 in credit card debt.
USA Today reported that revolving credit, which is comprised mostly of credit card debt, fell by 20 percent in 2010, and new credit card accounts dropped nearly 50 percent from 2008 to 2010.
Often, the decision stems from exasperation over the standards by which the credit card industry governs itself, which are often seen as unfair to consumers. These include predatory lending and a tendency to hike interest rates to 20 or 30 percent at even the smallest hint of financial trouble.
Congress passed a law in 2009 that is supposed to make it difficult for companies to charge certain types of fees or raise interest rates on balances that already exist. Leading up to those changes, though, many companies aggressively increased their rates, even for customers who were paying them on time.
Now in Europe, and particularly in England, credit card usage is facing what is being called a "mid-life crisis," with more people turning instead to digital payments, payday loans and debit cards.
Even for those who have decided not to take on more credit card debt, digging their way out of the trench they are already in can be cumbersome. That's where an attorney experienced in the debt relief process can be a lifesaver.
Here are some basic tips to helping you manage your debt:
1. Some borrowing, such as for a home or college, can be beneficial. But be mindful of how much you are borrowing, and don't accept more than what you can afford to pay back.
2. Keep your spending in check. People often spend outside of their means, and quickly end up with an overwhelming amount of debt. Write down your monthly expenses, and stick to your budget.
3. Pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first.
4. Pay more than the minimum monthly balance on your credit cards. Otherwise, you'll barely be making a dent in the principal amount you owe.
5. Seek help as soon as you realize you need it. A reputable Colorado Springs debt relief counselor can help you get your bills consolidated and help you better manage your finances.
What may come to mind for many people considering divorce in Colorado is what will happen with the kids, who will get the home and how will I make ends meet after the divorce?
But what they should also consider is whether a Colorado Springs bankruptcy could actually help them during the divorce process. Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyers have been able to help many clients who are going through a difficult divorce and who realize that filing for bankruptcy provides them with financial help at a difficult time.
While people consider how assets will be split, what about debts? Unless it is paid off, the house is likely more of a debt than an asset, plus there are car payments, credit card bills, utilities, memberships and other bills that will stack up.
This falls into the field of expertise for a divorce lawyer. But perhaps consulting with a Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyer, who has the skills to assess your financial situation, would be a smart move if you are considering or in the middle of a divorce.
Money and divorce go hand and hand. And while there are certainly emotional issues that must be taken into consideration during this difficult and life-changing time, a spouse must also be diligently looking out for their financial prospects after a divorce.
Consider recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that Colorado's divorce rate is far higher than the national average and among the highest in the country. In 2009, the average divorce rate for men was 9.2 percent and for women, it was 9.7 percent. In Colorado, the divorce rate for men was 11.6 percent and for women it was 9.4 percent. So, it appears women in Colorado divorce at the national average, but men are far above the national average with widowhood making up the difference.
For couples willing to work together to this end, filing for a joint bankruptcy in Colorado Springs before or during a divorce may be beneficial to both spouses. Often, though, a divorcee may have to make this decision on their own after the divorce is finalized.
If you are struggling with debt and need to speak with an experienced Colorado Springs bankruptcy lawyer, contact attorney Stephen H. Swift at (719) 520-0164 for a free initial consultation.